Unemployment Claims Continue to Fall

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer May 28, 2020
pensive woman at window

​Another 2.1 million U.S. workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending May 23. That's a dip from last week's 2.4 million first-time claims, but brings the 10-week total to about 40 million as businesses begin to reopen across the country.

First-time claims have been gradually declining since hitting a record 6.8 million in late March. The number of workers continuing to claim unemployment benefits fell to 21 million from 25 million the week before. Continuing claims data provides insight into how soon the economy may ramp back up. The weekly jobless claims report is the most timely economic indicator for measuring the impact of the virus on the U.S. labor market.

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Nick Bunker, the director of economic research at the Indeed Hiring Lab said that “another week of data shows the number of initial unemployment claims slowing, but the historic level of joblessness is still on the rise.”

Bunker added that it’s important to also look at the claims from the newly created Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program providing jobless benefits to workers previously not eligible for unemployment. In addition to the headline number, another 1.2 million self-employed, independent contractors and other nontraditional workers claimed unemployment last week. “The pace of flooding has declined, but the labor market is still underwater,” Bunker said.


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