February 28, 2021

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The daily business briefing: February 5, 2021

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First-time applications for jobless benefits fell last week to 779,000, a drop of 33,000 from the revised level for the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists had been expecting 830,000 new jobless claims. The latest figure was the lowest since late November, suggesting that the economy was recovering slowly from the business shutdowns and slowdowns caused by the winter surge in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Still, the fact that weekly jobless claims remained above the pre-pandemic weekly record of 695,000 showed how far the recovery has to go. “Approaching the one-year mark of the pandemic, it is quite striking that new claims remain so elevated,” Bankrate economic analyst Mark Hamrick said. [CNBC, Bloomberg]

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