Picture of US economy worrisome as virus inflicts damage

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Gripped by the accelerating viral outbreak, the U.S. economy is under pressure from persistent layoffs, diminished income, and nervous consumers, whose spending is needed to drive a recovery from the pandemic.

A flurry of data released Wednesday suggested that the spread of the virus is intensifying the threats to an economy still struggling to recover from the deep recession that struck in early spring.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week for a second straight week to 778,000, evidence that many employers are still slashing jobs more than eight months after the virus hit.