U.S. Recovery More Tenuous as Jobless Claims Rise, Incomes Fall

Applications for U.S. state unemployment benefits unexpectedly posted the first back-to-back weekly increase since July, while Americans’ incomes and savings fell last month.

Wednesday’s data indicate the economic rebound is becoming more tenuous amid soaring coronavirus cases, fresh lockdowns and an extended deadlock in Congress over a new stimulus package.

Initial jobless claims in regular state programs increased by 30,000 to 778,000 in the week ended Nov. 21, according to Labor Department data. Without adjustments for seasonal fluctuations, the figure rose by about 78,000 during the week.

A separate Commerce Department report showed U.S. household spending rose in October but incomes dropped by more than forecast, owing in large part to a decline in government supplemental jobless benefits. The savings rate fell for a sixth month.

Filings for U.S. initial jobless benefits post back-to-back unexpected increases

Continuing claims -- the total pool of Americans on ongoing state unemployment benefits -- fell by 299,000 to 6.07 million in the week ended Nov. 14. But the number of Americans on an extended assistance program continued to increase, a sign that more people have exhausted regular state benefits.