Stock markets on Thursday opened down after an uptick in jobless claims surprised economists.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 80 points, or 0.3 percent, and the S&P 500 was down 2.9 points, or 0.1 percent.
For the first time in four months, the number of initial jobless claims ticked up amid new COVID-19 outbreaks across the country.
Over 1.4 million seasonally adjusted unemployment claims came in last week, according to the Labor Department, up from 1.3 million the previous week. Economists had expected the claims to remain around 1.3 million.
When the 975,000 claims for the expanded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance were included, the number of new claims amounted to over 2.3 million.
The report is an indication that the new surge of COVID-19 cases in states such as Arizona, California, Florida and Texas is pulling the economy down, as bars and restaurants are forced to close in some places and new social distancing restrictions are put in place.
The figures arrive as the $600 in extra weekly unemployment insurance passed in March as part of the CARES Act is set to expire next week. Disagreements remain in Congress over to what degree extra unemployment benefits should be renewed.