The U.S. Department of Labor reported 803,000 initial unemployment claims last week, a drop of 89,000 from the week prior.
Why it matters: The number of Americans on unemployment benefits remains high, though the figures released Wednesday were lower than the 888,000 that economists had expected.
Driving the news: The report comes a day after President Trump suggested he may not sign Congress' $900 billion coronavirus relief bill, potentially delaying desperately needed aid for millions of Americans.
- The bill includes an extension of pandemic-related unemployment benefits that expire on Dec. 26. 397,511 people filed for benefits last week under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides subsidies to those who aren't normally eligible for unemployment benefits.
- Trump's threat runs the risk of worsening the country's economic recovery and increases the chances of a government shutdown during the pandemic.
The bottom line: Although the number of unemployment claims was less than expected, it is another sign that the country's job recovery still has a long way to go to recover to pre-pandemic levels.
- According to the Labor Department, there were 287,243 initial claims for the same week last year.