Another 2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week

Another 2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week

Nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians have filed initial unemployment claims since Gov. Wolf ordered the shutdown of non-essential businesses in mid-March, the state said Thursday. The prior week's figure was revised down by 294,000 to 2.69 million after a clerical error by CT labor officials inflated the overall nationwide figure.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting 2.4 million claims last week. CT said last week it had misreported its numbers.

More than 607,000 Maryland residents have filed for unemployment in the last nine weeks. Roughly 38.6 million people have now filed for jobless aid since the coronavirus forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their work forces.

But the tens of millions of Americans who have applied for assistance in just over two months is a staggering number, reflecting a 14.7% jobless rate that is the highest since the Great Depression.

Data for the prior week was revised down to show 2.687 million claims filed instead of the previously reported 2.981 million. The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance May 17 was $99.3 million.

Those series are reported with a one-week lag.

All 50 states have begun reopening; however, most economists, including former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, say that recovery from the COVID-19 shutdown will take at least a few years.

Continuing claims under the federal PUA program totaled 6.12 million as of May 2.

More than one-half of the region's jobless workers - 102,000 - are in Allegheny County. Following were Georgia (14,420), Washington (8,615), NY (4,309), and South Dakota (1,340).

Across the country, almost 39 million Americans have found themselves out of work since mid-March.

While that's a positive development, openings are gradual and far short of need.

Layoffs fueled by the coronavirus pandemic continue to mount. The United States has been the hardest-hit country, with more than 1.5 million cases and over 93,000 deaths.

The enormous influx of claims has overwhelmed state unemployment offices.

California again led all states in the number of new claims filed last week, with 246,115.

The number of regular initial claims fell again week-over-week - down from 22,483 for the week ending May 9. Some economists are looking to the raw numbers for a more accurate read on benefit filings amid challenges with the seasonal adjustment process. The fix was reflected in Thursday's report.

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