Unemployment Filings Top 3.1M Across US

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to cripple the U.S. economy, another 3.169 million people filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending May 2. Total claims filed since COVID-19 hit the nation in March have topped 30 million.

One upside is that the latest seasonally adjusted claims actually fell by 677,000 from the previous week’s level, which was bumped up by 7,000 from 3,839,000 to 3,846,000, according to the Labor Department’s weekly jobless claims report released on Thursday (May 7).

The four-week moving average dropped 861,500 to 4,173,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,750 from 5,033,250 to 5,035,000. 

In the week ending April 18, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance filings were reported by 11 states; 994,850 people claimed benefits. Seven states reported there were 52,305 claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending April 18 were in Vermont (25.2), West Virginia (21.9), Michigan (21.7), Rhode Island (20.4), Nevada (19.9), Connecticut (18.7), Puerto Rico (17.9), Georgia (17.3), New York (17.2) and Washington (17.1).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending April 25 were in Washington (+56,030), Georgia (+19,562), New York (+14,229), Oregon (+12,091) and Alabama (+8,534), while the largest decreases were in California (-203,017), Florida (-73,567), Connecticut (-69,767), New Jersey (-68,173) and Pennsylvania (-66,698). 

Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst for Bankrate, noted that while the job losses are still massive, these weekly numbers continue to decline, suggesting the flood of layoffs is relenting. “Many Americans expect to resume work as consumers venture outside the safety of their homes,” he said. “With that, workers fortunate enough to have jobs to return to should see a good part of their incomes restored. The shape of the economic recovery is still to come.”

“Even with the economy slowly starting to reopen, the number of unemployed should continue to rise sharply as governments, as well as businesses that have tried but not succeeded at holding the line, are now laying off workers,” Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economics in Holland, Pennsylvania, said in a Reuters report on Thursday (May 7).