(The Center Square) - About 712,000 American workers filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week, a drop of 75,000 from the week prior but still an indication that new restrictions on businesses to slow the latest surge of COVID-19 cases continues to be a drag on the economy.
In the week ending Nov. 28, more than 288,000 self-employed and contract workers also filed new claims for benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, launched amid the pandemic to help those who don't usually qualify for unemployment. That brings the total number of workers filing for first-time benefits to more than a million.
The U.S. Department of Labor released the latest data Thursday morning.
Continued claims, which count those who have filed for benefits at least two weeks in a row, fell to 5.52 million in the week ending Nov. 21. That's down from 6.09 million continued claims from the week ending Nov. 14. Continued claims data lags new unemployment filings by a week.
California once again led the nation in the number of new claims filed, with 129,664 last week.