US jobless claims rise to 719K as virus still forces layoffs

  • A pedestrian wearing a mask walks by a retail location for rent in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City on March 25. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose by 61,000 last week to 719,000, signaling that many employers are still cutting jobs even as more businesses reopen, vaccines are increasingly administered and federal aid spreads through the economy.