Investing.com — U.S. stock markets opened markedly lower on Thursday after the first weekly rise in initial jobless claims in nearly five months sharpened fears that the recovery may be stalling.
The Labor Department reported that the number of people making initial claims for jobless benefits rose by nearly 200,000 to 1.106 million, suggesting that the rate of layoffs remains high despite a recent improvement in the public health picture across the south and west of the country. Just under half a million more applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a program whose benefits have been halved since the start of August. Over 28 million Americans were claiming benefits as of the start of the month, the most recent week for which numbers are available.
The news came a day after the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting minutes showed heightened concern at a loss of momentum in the economy, but still gave no clear hint as to when and under what conditions it may ease monetary policy further.