The number of Americans filing first-time unemployment claims fell 19,000 from last week to 787,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Analysts expected 833,000 claims for the week ending Dec. 26. The previous week’s level was revised up by 3,000 from 803,000 to 806,000.
The states of California, Kentucky, and New York saw the highest rises in claims, while Illinois, Texas, and Georgia posted major declines.
Despite the decline in unemployment claims, there are still more than 11 million jobless Americans expecting the Senate to approve increasing direct payment checks to unemployed individuals to $2,000 from $600.
The House of Representatives voted Monday to raise COVID-19 payment checks, however Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been blocking the measure that President Donald Trump also supports.
The Republican senator from Kentucky said Wednesday the bill that passed the Democrat-controlled House had “no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate,” adding “The Senate is not going to be bullied into rushing out more borrowed money into the hands of Democrats’ rich friends who don’t need the help.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer later slammed McConnell, saying “At the very least, the Senate deserves the opportunity for an up-or-down vote … there is no other game in town than the House bill.”
Major US indexes’ futures were without much change before the opening bell on the last trading day of 2020 after they reached all-time highest levels earlier this week with hopes that higher checks would provide more liquidity for the markets.
Before the opening bell on Wall Street, gold was nearly 0.1% at $1,896 but silver was down 0.8% to $26.4.
Crude oil prices were down around 0.9% for the day with international benchmark Brent trading above $51 per barrel, while American benchmark WTI around $48 a barrel.
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