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Another 732,223 Americans filed for unemployment last week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's weekly jobs report, and 359,667 people filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the government's program for freelancers, the self-employed and non-traditional workers. That put the advance, unadjusted insured unemployment rate at 5.1 percent. The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending October 17 were in Massachusetts (5,442), Kansas (3,010), Virginia (2,255), Texas (616) and Minnesota (493), while the largest decreases were in California (16,207), New York (11,495), Georgia (9,274), Florida (7,834) and Michigan (7,774).

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported on Thursday that the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 7.4 percent in the third quarter of 2020—the fastest gain on record. However, experts warn, that number needs to be taken with a grain of salt. According to The New York Times, the third quarter’s record growth is a natural response to Q2's unprecedented contraction, when the GDP fell by 9 percent due to stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In short: as the economy began to reopen, a surge in growth was inevitable. The Commerce Department says it will release a follow-up estimate for the third quarter, based on more complete data, on Nov. 25.

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