These are the jobless claims numbers that the Labor Department reported on February 18, 2021.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits came in above expectations. On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that jobless claims totaled 861,000 last week. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected jobless claims to total 773,000.

Continuing claims, the number of individuals receiving unemployment benefits for consecutive weeks, fell by 64,000 to 4.5 million. Markets moved lower with the S&P 500 falling 0.86 percent midday Thursday.

18.34 million Americans are still receiving benefits across all programs, dropping 1.3 million in the past week.

“We’re still at the mercy of the virus, so it’s still a bifurcated economy,” said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab.

Several states saw a significant increase in jobless claims last week including Illinois and California.

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Economics, Finance and Investing