Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images
Updated at 9:39 a.m. ET
New claims for unemployment benefits rose to 1.4 million last week — the first increase since March, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
In addition, claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which helps people who are self-employed or who don’t qualify for regular benefits, went up nearly 20,000 to about 975,000.
The increases are a sign that the labor market is deteriorating as businesses around the country close their doors again in response to an intensified coronavirus pandemic. And the upticks in filings come as Congress debates whether to extend federal unemployment insurance related to the pandemic, which expires in days.
“The combination of the resurgence of COVID-19, especially across the Sun Belt, bankruptcies, and secondary layoffs finally stopped the decline,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union.
The 109,000 increase in first-time regular claims came even as continued claims dropped by 1.1 million, to 16.2 million.