2.43 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week

New York City. Across America people are reeling from the loss of jobs and incomes as unemployment soars to historical levels following the COVID-19

Economists had been expecting around 2.4 million for weekly claims.

There were 2,438,000 Initial Claims for unemployment benefits in the US during the week ending May 16th, the data published by the US Department of Labor (DOL) revealed on Thursday.

Even as an increasing number of states began reopening their economies across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to wreak havoc on employment in the USA last week.

But the number of people filing continued claims for unemployment benefits surged to more than 25 million in the week ending May 9, the feds said, suggesting many workers have not returned to their jobs since being laid off or furloughed amid lockdowns aimed at curbing the coronavirus. The prior week was initially reported at just below 3 million and was revised down to 2.69 down.

"With a ninth straight week of new weekly jobless claims being counted in the millions, although at a lower level than before, one might be tempted to focus on the continuing decline", Mark Hamrick, the senior economic analyst for Bankrate, said in a commentary Thursday. Specifically, most states in recent weeks have seen substantial decreases in weekly claims.


Although the latest jobless claim numbers are down from the 2.9 million filed during the week ending May 9, they are still at a level unseen since the Great Depression.

The new claims numbers may be undercounting the toll the coronavirus and lockdowns have exacted on the USA labor market. NY had 227,000, up from 199,000. Florida had 221,000 claims, California 214,000, and NY roughly 200,000. Economists were estimating 24.25 million continuing claims for the week.

These workers generally do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance, but to get federal aid for coronavirus-related job and income losses they must first file for state benefits and be denied. This reading came in slightly worse than the market expectation of 2.4 million. In the US, there were 1.55 million cases and 93,400 deaths.

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance.

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