Unemployment claims fell slightly to 1.5 million last week, the 11th consecutive week the jobless numbers have declined, but higher than economists expected, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Labor released Thursday (June 18).
Initial claims for the week ending June 13 were at 1,508,000, a decrease of 58,000 from the June 6 revised level. The previous week’s number was revised up by 24,000 from 1,542,000 to 1,566,000.
That brings the 12-week total since the onset of COVID-19 to 46 million and makes the 13th straight week that claims have exceeded 1 million.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected new unemployment claims would be slightly lower at 1.3 million.
“As one gauge of the sustained level of joblessness three months since this devastating wave began to slam the economy, continuing claims remained elevated but also down slightly from the previous week,” said Mark Hamrick, Bankrate.com senior economic analyst, in a statement. “Like the threat posed by the virus, we must not become complacent about the level of human suffering associated with the economic downturn simply because of its persistence.”
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 6 were in California (27,202), Massachusetts (17,512), Oklahoma (17,149), New York (11,873) and Maryland (9,718), while the largest decreases were in Florida (95,546), Texas (17,001), Georgia (13,909), Michigan (11,454), and Maine (8,034).