Another 2.4M Workers File First-Time Jobless Claims

Andrew Cummings
May 22, 2020

Over the past nine weeks, more than 38 million Americans have filed unemployment insurance claims.

Another 2.4 million Americans filed for first-time benefits last week, the Department of Labor reported on Thursday.

The states with the highest real-time unemployment rates as of May 9, according to a analysis, are Kentucky (42.9%), Georgia (40.3%), Hawaii (35.8%), Louisiana (34.8%), CT (34.7%), Nevada (34.2%), Washington (33.8%) and Pennsylvania (33.6%), which each have more than one in three workers unemployed.

Initial claims appeared to have passed their peak hit in late March, and the latest figure is down 249,000 from the almost 2.7 million claims file in the week ended May 9.

Continuing claims under the federal PUA program totaled 6.12 million as of May 2.

"One bright spot, however, was the almost flat reading in continuing claims, which serves as a gauge of (1) how quickly the economy can ramp up after states "re-open" and (2) the efficacy of the PPP".

After hitting a record in the week ending March 28, the weekly initial jobless claims figure has been on a steady decline. States have begun to relax restrictions to varying degrees, offering job opportunities for many who found themselves in the firing line.

"The sharp rise in continuing claims the week before illustrates that the easing of lockdowns in many states has not yet resulted in any large-scale recall to work for those now on temporary layoff", Capital Economics said in a note Thursday. In the US, there were 1.55 million cases and 93,400 deaths. The rise in unemployment comes despite the reopening of the economy by an increasing number of states across the country.

On an non-seasonally adjusted basis, initial claims were 2.17 million last week, following 2.36 million the prior week. Continuing claims on that basis totaled 22.9 million for the week ended May 9, following 20.9 million. Some economists are looking to the raw numbers for a more accurate read on benefit filings amid challenges with the seasonal adjustment process.

Other reports by iNewsToday