Jobless Claims Pace Declines


The U.S. Department of Labor released the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report. In the week ending May 16th, weekly jobless claims totaled 2.4 million, a decrease from the previous week. It was the seventh straight week of a declining pace after the record peak of 6.9 million during the week ending March 28th.

In the week ending May 16th, the number of initial claims was at a seasonally adjusted level of 2,438,000, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 2,687,000 claims. The four-week moving average decreased to 3,042,000, from a revised average of 3,543,000 in the previous week. This week’s 2.4 million new claims brought the nine-week total to nearly 38.6 million.

Meanwhile, the number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment, known as continuing claims, rose by 2,525,000 to 25,073,000 in the week ending May 9th. The four-week moving average increased sharply by 2,313,500 to 22,002,250. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate increased by 1.7 percentage points to 17.2% for the week ending May 9th. The previous week’s rate was revised down by 0.2 percentage point from 15.7% to 15.5%.

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 2,174,329 in the week ending May 16th, a decrease of 182,265 from the previous week.

The chart below presents the top 10 states ranked by the number of advanced initial claims for the week ending May 16th. For the week ending May 16th, California, New York and Florida reported the most advanced initial claims, while Wyoming, Vermont, and North Dakota had the least advanced initial claims. California led the way with 246,115 initial claims, followed by New York with 226,521 initial claims and Florida with 223,927 initial claims.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit each state differently during the past several weeks. For the week ending May 16th, while Washington (+34,397), California (+33,448), and New York (+27,102) reported the largest increases in advanced initial claims, Georgia (-66,224), New Jersey (-28,366), and Kentucky (-22,336) had the largest decreases in advanced initial claims.

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