Over the past nine weeks, more than 38 million Americans have filed unemployment insurance claims.
More than 2 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, indicating major job losses are continuing two months after the coronavirus pandemic started shuttering businesses. The feds also revised the prior week's total down to 2.6 million from about 3 million.
The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 2.4 million claims in the latest week.More news: Google Stadia Exclusivity Delays Serious Sam 4 on PS4 Until 2021
"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 percent per week", UBS said in a note dated May 15, seen by Yahoo Finance. The largest decrease in claims was in California, where claims dropped by 103,590.
Claims hit a record 6.87 million for the week of March 28. Each subsequent week has seen claims decline. Those are reported with a one-week lag. The jump is an indication that most of those who lost jobs in recent weeks have remained out of work.
The federal government has been shipping in an extra $600 a week to state unemployment benefits, making the program much more generous.More news: USA weekly jobless claims remain high as backlogs, layoffs linger
"The sharp rise in continuing claims the week before illustrates that the easing of lockdowns in many states has not yet resulted in any large-scale recall to work for those now on temporary layoff", Capital Economics said in a note Thursday.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its April Jobs report that the unemployment rate in the U.S. had skyrocketed to 14.7% - the highest since the Great Depression - though many economists say it could climb even higher, pointing to the mounting unemployment filings.
The new claims numbers may be undercounting the toll the coronavirus and lockdowns have exacted on the USA labor market. "We expect a similar sized decline this week, with some modest processing catch-up effects in a small number of states amounting to around 100,000".More news: C: Kids with coronavirus-related inflammatory syndrome need help fast