WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose for the third straight week, a sign that the highly contagious delta variant may be slowing the job market’s recovery. The Labor Department said Thursday that claims were up by 11,000 last week to 362,000 the previous week. Since topping 900,000 in early January, applications have mostly fallen steadily as the economy bounces back from last year’s shutdowns. But they’ve risen recently as coronavirus cases tick up again. The numbers, which are a proxy for layoffs, remain elevated: Before the pandemic hit the United States hard in March 2020, they were typically coming in at around 220,000 a week.
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