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New claims for unemployment benefits rose to 745,000 in the week ended 27 February, up slightly from the previous week’s adjusted tally of 736,000 but slightly below analysts’ expectation of 750,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported.
Private-sector employers added only 117,000 jobs in February, according to a 3 March report from ADP. That figure is barely half of the 225,000 that Dow Jones had predicted.
Ten million people who want to work remain jobless, and 18 million are still receiving some form of unemployment compensation, according to the Labor Department.
However, 18 million is one million less than in the previous week, due to reductions in claims by gig workers and others not eligible for regular state jobless support as well as by those whose other benefits have expired.
Productivity among U.S. non-farm workers – the amount of value contributed hourly to the GDP by the average worker – shrank by a 4.2-percent annualized rate in 2020’s last quarter, the steepest drop since 1981, the Labor Department also reported.
The rate was a revision to the previously announced contraction of 4.8 percent.
Still, the productivity rate was 2.4 percent higher in the period than it was in 2019’s fourth quarter.

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