Last week millions of Americans applied for jobless insurance, over two months after a nationwide shutdown to cope with the global health crisis, leading to a second wave of job losses in sectors not originally affected by the Covid-19 triggered closures.
During the week of May 16 another 2.4 million Americans applied for jobless claims. For the week, market observers estimated some 2.4 million initial unemployment insurance.
The number for the previous week was adjusted lower compared to the previously recorded 2.98 million to 2.69 million. Over 38 million Americans have filed for jobless insurance claims over the past nine weeks.
Those who filed for jobless claims for the first time last week totaled 2.43 million as the aftermath of the lockdowns continued to affect the American job landscape. Economists polled by Dow Jones had sought for 2.4 million claims.
The seasonally adjusted number, though still above what the US had witnessed before the outbreak, marks the seventh consecutive week of a dropping rate following the record high of 6.8 million by late March.
The latest data also increases worries regarding the effectiveness of the paycheck insurance initiative by the government. A wide-ranging mid-March shutdown of the nation to prevent the virus from further ravaging the economy, led to more people ending up without work in mainly low-wage companies like supermarkets and restaurants.
However, analysts claim sluggish demand triggered the huge number of job cuts in other sectors such as energy, media, banking, insurance, and education.
The weekly initial unemployment insurance number has been on a steady drop after registering a record in the weekend ending March 28. Many states have seen significant decreases in weekly claims over the last weeks.
California posted the biggest volume of US jobless claims on an unadjusted basis at a projected 246,000 in the week ending May 16, up from 213,000 in the week before. New York accounted for 227,000, up from 199,000 while Florida posted 224,000, and Georgia notching around 177,000 unemployed.
While the overall national figures are dropping, the levels of joblessness remain high and well beyond what the US has witnessed before. There are another 2.23 million claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance plan and 167,727 under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment program along with the 25 million jobless as shown by the continuing claims.
The pandemic turmoil has created the worst employment market since the Great Depression and highest economic collapse in over a decade. Other figures released on Thursday indicated housing sales posted their largest retreat in almost ten years last month.