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Another 6.6 million Americans file U.S. initial jobless claims; gold prices higher

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Editor's Note: updating earlier story to include more details from report.

(Kitco News) - Droves of Americans once again filed for first-time U.S. jobless claims in the week to Saturday, with government data on Thursday putting the tally at 6.6 million.

After the report, spot gold extended its early rise to a gain of $26 to $1,672.50 an ounce as of 8:43 a.m. EDT.

Consensus expectations compiled by news organizations called for initial jobless claims to be around 5 million to 6 million. The previous week’s 6.65 million claims were revised up to 6.87 million.

This was the third straight week that new claims topped 3 million after the previous all-time high had been 695,000 back in October 1982, according to Labor Department figures. The report has become the most widely watched U.S. economic data as market participants try to gauge the economic impact of lockdowns and social-distancing measures across the country to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many businesses temporarily closing their doors.

This was the fourth straight week the Labor Department issued a statement attributing a rise to layoffs as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The increase was especially pronounced the last three weeks, with a total of 16.78 initial claims filed during this time period.

“The COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims and its impact is also reflected in the increasing levels of insured unemployment,” said the Labor Department.

Meanwhile, the four-week moving average for new claims – often viewed as a more reliable measure of the labor market since it smooths out week-to-week volatility – rose by 1.6 million to 4.27 million.

Continuing jobless claims, which counts the number of people already receiving benefits and reported with a one-week delay, increased by 4.4 million to a seasonally adjusted 7.46 million during the week ending March 28, the government said.

The jobless-claims report came out at the same time as the Producer Price Index for March.

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