Number of Americans applying for jobless aid jumps

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The number of Americans applying for jobless aid hit a two-month high last week, a sign the labor market may be slowing.

Some 898,000 people filed for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ending October 15, the Labor Department said Thursday. That figure, adjusted for seasonal variation, is up by 53,000 from the previous week  and the highest level of jobless claims since mid-August.

Another 373,000 workers applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program for those who don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits.

“Seven months into the pandemic and on the verge of winter, the labor market is on thin ice,” AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab, said in an email.

Some 25 million people, or about 1 in 6 workers, are currently receiving unemployment benefits of some kind.

This is a developing story.

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