The number of Americans filing first-time unemployment claims rose 9,000 to 745,000 last week, near estimates, according to the Labor Department on Thursday.

Analysts expected 750,000 for the week ending Feb. 27, while the previous week was revised up by 6,000 from 730,000 to 736,000.

US private payrolls increased 117,000 in February, well below estimates, according to ADP Research Institute on Wednesday.

The government’s nonfarm payroll report will be released Friday and is expected to show an increase of 180,000 jobs in February. If realized, it would be much higher than 49,000 jobs in January.

Despite the fall in claims, there are still 10.1 million jobless Americans since the pandemic-hit economy shed 22 million positions in last March and April.

President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan, which includes $1,400 stimulus checks for individuals and help for vaccine distribution efforts, passed the House of Representatives early Thursday.

But as the American Rescue Plan heads to the Senate, it is widely expected to face strong opposition from Republican lawmakers in the upper chamber.

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