"The COVID-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims and insured unemployment", the department wrote.
Continuing claims - the total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits - increased to a record 25.1 million in state programs 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".
According to the Missouri Department of Labor, Missourians who have been placed on a temporary layoff related to COVID-19, but refuse to return to work when called back by their employer, should expect to lose unemployment benefits.
"A couple of large states, Florida and NY, still had increases in their weekly claims, but the majority of states are seeing new claims fall by 20% per week", UBS said in a note May 15.
Nevertheless, after hitting a record in the week ending March 28, the weekly initial jobless claims figure has been on a steady decline.
"NJDOL continues to see tens of thousands of customers per week responding to one or more certification questions in a way that makes their claim ineligible for benefits under federal law", the agency said in a press release. States have begun to relax restrictions to varying degrees, offering job opportunities for many who found themselves in the firing line.
The enormous influx of claims has overwhelmed state unemployment offices. Florida had 221,000 claims, California 214,000, and NY roughly 200,000. The rise in unemployment comes despite the reopening of the economy by an increasing number of states across the country.
"But at 2.4 million new claims last week, the seismic impact should not be dismissed because earlier shock waves were larger". Continuing claims totlaed 22.9 million for the week ended May 9, following 20.9 million. Florida is among the states whose unemployment systems are still seeing delays, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. The state said the overstatement of about 269,000 claims was a data entry reporting error.
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