Home US Jobless claims total 1.5 million, worse than expected as economic pain persists

Jobless claims total 1.5 million, worse than expected as economic pain persists

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Weekly jobless claims stayed above 1 million for the 13th consecutive week as the coronavirus pandemic continued to hammer at the U.S. economy.

First-time claims totaled 1.5 million last week, higher than the 1.3 million that economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting. That was 58,000 lower than the previous week’s 1.566 million, which was revised up by 24,000.

The elevated claims number persists even as all states have reopened to various extents and nonfarm payrolls grew by 2.5 million in May. Before the coronavirus, the record for a single week was 695,000 in September 1982.

Continuing claims, or those who have been receiving unemployment benefits for at least two weeks, nudged lower to 20.5 million, a decline of 62,000 from the previous week.

In addition to the standard filings there were 760,526 claims filed under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, an increase of more than 65,000, according to unadjusted numbers. 

The total of those receiving benefits to 29.1 million as of May 30, which was the most recent week for which data was available. That was a decrease of 375,522 from the previous week.

Numbers not adjusted for seasonality showed 1.43 million claims, a decline of 128,240, or 8.2%. Some economists are watching that number more closely as seasonal factors are playing less of a role due to the unusual nature of the coronavirus-related work stoppages.

Florida (-25,863) and Oklahoma (-20,788) both showed sizable drops from the previous week, according to unadjusted numbers. Texas showed the biggest gain, with 4,219.

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