Continuing Jobless Claims Drop

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The U.S. Department of Labor released the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report for the week ending May 23rd. Initial claims have declined for the eighth straight week after it hit a record peak of 6.9 million in the week ending March 28th. Continuing claims dropped by 3.86 million in the week ending May 16th, suggesting some unemployed workers are finding jobs or being rehired as states reopen.

In the week ending May 23rd, the number of initial claims was at a seasonally adjusted level of 2,123,000, a decrease of 323,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 2,446,000 claims. It was the lowest level since the COVID-19 crisis hit economy. The four-week moving average decreased to 2,608,000, from a revised average of 3,044,000 in the previous week. This week’s new claims brought the ten-week total to nearly 40.8 million.

Meanwhile, the number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment, known as continuing claims, declined from 24,912,000 to 21,052,000 in the week ending May 16th. It was the first drop in the past eleven weeks. The four-week moving average rose to 22,722,250, an increase of 760,250 from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate decreased by 2.6 percentage points to 14.5% for the week ending May 16th. The previous week’s rate was revised down by 0.1 percentage point from 17.2% to 17.1%.

The U.S. Department of Labor also released the advanced number of actual initial claims under state programs without seasonal adjustments. The unadjusted number of advanced initial claims totaled 1,914,958 in the week ending May 23rd, a decrease of 266,682 from the previous week.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some states are hit harder than others. The chart below presents the top 10 states ranked by the number of advanced initial claims for the week ending May 23rd. Like the previous week, California, New York and Florida still reported the most advanced initial claims. California led the way with 212,343 initial claims, followed by New York with 192,193 initial claims and Florida with 173,731 initial claims. Vermont, Wyoming and Rhode Island had the least advanced initial claims.

For the week ending May 23rd, while Virginia (+13,892), Pennsylvania (+6,892), and Kentucky (+6,417) reported the largest increases in advanced initial claims, Washington (-86,839), Florida (-51,673), and California (-32,088) had the largest decreases in advanced initial claims.



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