The number of applications for unemployment benefits has decreased but remains large

At the same time, the first decline in consumer spending since April was recorded.

The number of initial applications for unemployment benefits in the United States unexpectedly fell last week. However, it remains large due to restrictions on business activity and consumption amid an increase in coronavirus incidence.

Another report showed that consumer spending last month fell for the first time since April.

Last week, 803,000 applications for seasonally adjusted unemployment benefits were filed, the Labor Department said Wednesday. For comparison, the week before last, 892,000 applications were submitted. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 885,000 applications.

The weekly report on welfare claims was published a day earlier, as government offices are closed on Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Commerce Department released a report showing that consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, fell 0.4 percent in November after rising 0.3 percent in October. This is the first drop in consumer spending since the recovery began in May.

Economists had forecast a 0.2 percent decline in consumer spending in November.

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