Jobless numbers in US rise slightly to 861,000 as layoffs remain high

Unemployment closed stores
Posted at 6:59 AM, Feb 18, 2021

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans applying for unemployment aid rose last week to 861,000, evidence that layoffs remain painfully high despite a steady drop in the number of confirmed viral infections.

Applications from laid-off workers rose 13,000 from the previous week, which was revised sharply higher, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The rise in layoffs last week broke a streak of several weeks of improving job numbers.

Before the virus erupted in the United States last March, weekly applications for unemployment benefits had never topped 700,000, even during the Great Recession of 2008-2009.