USA weekly jobless claims remain high as backlogs, layoffs linger

US workers file 2.4 million jobless claims as crisis total tops 38 million

Enlarge Image People wait to receive food at a distribution site in Brooklyn. Xinhua News Agency Getty Images

"But at 2.4 million new claims last week, the seismic impact should not be dismissed because earlier shock waves were larger", he added.

There were 2,438,000 Initial Claims for unemployment benefits in the US during the week ending May 16th, the data published by the US Department of Labor (DOL) revealed on Thursday.

When combined with initial jobless claims filed over the last eight weeks, the new figures took the nine-week jobless claims total to 38.6 million as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rattle the USA economy.

But the number of people filing continued claims for unemployment benefits surged to more than 25 million in the week ending May 9, the feds said, suggesting many workers have not returned to their jobs since being laid off or furloughed amid lockdowns aimed at curbing the coronavirus. That two-month total is roughly equivalent to all of the initial claims filed during the Great Recession. Specifically, most states in recent weeks have seen substantial decreases in weekly claims.

After hitting a record in the week ending March 28, the weekly initial jobless claims figure has been on a steady decline. "We expect a similar sized decline this week with some modest processing catch up effects in a small number of states amounting to around 100k".

In the week ending May 16, California reported the highest number of jobless claims at an estimated 246,000 on an unadjusted basis, up from 213,000 in the previous week. The prior week's figure was revised down by 294,000 to 2.69 million after a clerical error by CT labor officials inflated the overall nationwide figure. Florida had 221,000 claims, California 214,000, and NY roughly 200,000.

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

Worldwide coronavirus cases have already exceeded five million, with 329,000 deaths. In the US, there were 1.53 million cases and 92,000 deaths.

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