April 8 (UPI) -- Almost 750,000 U.S. workers have filed for new unemployment benefits, the Labor Department said in its weekly report Thursday.
The report said about 744,000 workers filed new claims last week, an increase of 16,000 claims over the previous week. Thursday's report also revised up the previous week's figure by 9,000 claims.
Most analysts expected about 680,000 new claims.
Thursday's report also said the national unemployment rate for the week was 2.6%. There were 3.7 million continuing claims, which lag initial claims by a week.
Claims have been trending downward in recent weeks as the U.S. economy continues to reopen -- but the weekly figures have remained high compared to prepandemic levels in 2019, when new claims averaged about 200,000 per week.
The department said in its March jobs report last week that the U.S. economy added 916,000 payrolls last month, topping analysts' projections by about 70,000 jobs.