A total of 960,668 initial claims were filed, a decrease of 151,303 from the week prior, for the week ending January 16.
PUA continued claims jumped to 515,913 during the same week, up 258,422, due to the Continued Assistance Act which extended PUA eleven more weeks effective January 2.
The department added continuing claims showed a slight decrease for the week, falling by 127,000 to 5.05 million. Some people stop receiving benefits when they find work, and for others the benefits expire. That can result in temporary lapses of aid as recipients have to reapply to overwhelmed state unemployment offices. Revenue at restaurants and bars plunged 21 percent in 2020. And as the pandemic drags on, more people are exhausting traditional unemployment benefits, which typically last just six months. The new benefit, which runs through mid-March, may be encouraging more Americans to apply for aid.
Oil faced significant resistance near multi-month highs at $53.90 and pulled back after API Crude Oil Stock Change report indicated that crude inventories increased by 2.6 million barrels while analysts expected that they would decline by 0.3 million barrels.
The nation's unemployment rate stands at 6.7%, and almost 10 million fewer Americans have jobs now than at the beginning of 2020.
Michael Feroli of JP Morgan predicted Congress could pare the president's plan down to the $900 billion range, matching a separate measure approved last month.
Agency officials have said that claims data isn't available because recently extended federal benefits have changed how ESD calculates who is receiving benefits and how long it takes to pay some claimants.