New weekly unemployment claims spiked far more than expected last week, as the coronavirus pandemic and stay-in-place orders weighed heavily on the labor market.

The U.S. Department of Labor released its weekly report on new jobless claims Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m. ET. Here were the main results in the report, compared to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg:

  • Initial jobless claims, week ended Jan. 9: 965,000 vs. 789,000 expected and 787,000 during the prior week

  • Continuing claims, week ended Jan. 2: 5.271 million vs. 5.000 million expected and 5.072 million during the prior week

At 965,000, new jobless claims hit the highest level since August, ending what had been a tentative start of a downward trend in initial claims. Heading into Thursday’s report, new initial unemployment claims were expected to dip below 800,000 for a third straight week. Initial jobless claims have stayed below the 1 million marks every week since late August, after peaking at a record nearly 7 million in March.

While both new and continuing jobless claims have eased significantly from their pandemic-era highs, both remain well above levels from before the pandemic, when new jobless claims were averaging at just over 200,000 per week and continuing claims were coming in well below 2 million. And last week’s December jobs report showed that the U.S. economy was still about 9.8 million payrolls short of its February levels, with a still-elevated unemployment rate and depressed labor force participation rate. Though the vaccine rollout and additional fiscal stimulus may have alleviated some of the pressure, some economists are bracing for a multi-year recovery in the labor market.

Based on last week’s data, more than 19 million Americans were still claiming unemployment benefits of some form, including 12.9 million individuals on pandemic-era federal unemployment programs.