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US jobless claims increase to 778,000 ahead of Thanksgiving as the pandemic worsens

A customer walks out of a Dallas 7-Eleven store past a sign that reads, "Now Hiring," in April.
A customer walks out of a Dallas 7-Eleven store past a sign that reads, "Now Hiring," in April.Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to 778,000 as a rise in coronavirus cases continues to take a toll on the economy’s recovery from the pandemic.

It’s the second straight week claims have ticked upward and the first back-to-back increase since July.

Last week’s number was up 30,000 from the week prior, but without adjustments for seasonal fluctuations, the figure rose by about 78,000.

Continuing claims, or the total number of Americans on ongoing state unemployment benefits, fell by 299,000 to about 6 million in the week ended Nov. 14. But the number of Americans on an extended assistance program continued to increase, a sign that more people have exhausted regular state benefits.

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Governor Charlie Baker on Monday said a very high percentage of claims filed over the weekend of Nov. 14 to 15 in Massachusetts failed to pass an initial screening, due to possible fraud.

This story will be updated.

Material from Bloomberg was used in this report.


Anissa Gardizy can be reached at anissa.gardizy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8.