In the seven weeks ended May 2, more than 33 million people filed claims for unemployment benefits, reflecting the economic slowdown attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of new claims reported today by the U.S. Department of Labor totaled 3,169,000 for the week ended May 2 on a seasonally adjusted basis, a decrease of 677,000 from the revised level for the week ended April 25.
The Labor Department’s reporting typically does not include an unemployment percentage for the most recent week, but does show the rates for prior weeks. For the week ended April 25, the department reported an unemployment rate of 15.5%, up 3.1% from the week ended April 18.
In addition, there were 13,758 former federal civilian employees claiming unemployment insurance benefits for the week ending April 18, an increase of 423 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 8,670, an increase of 468 from the prior week. During the week ending April 18, 11 states reported 994,850 individuals claiming Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and seven states reported 52,305 individuals claiming Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending April 18 were found in Vermont at 25.2%, West Virginia at 21.9%, Michigan at 21.7%, Rhode Island at 20.4%, Nevada at 19.9%, Connecticut at 18.7%, Puerto Rico at 17.9%, Georgia at 17.3%, New York at 17.2% and Washington state at 17.1%.
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending April 25 were in Washington state (up 56,030), Georgia (up 19,562), New York (up 14,229), Oregon (up 12,091), and Alabama (up 8,534).
The largest decreases for the week ending April 25 were in California (down 203,017), Florida (down 73,567), Connecticut (down 69,767), New Jersey (down 68,173), and Pennsylvania (down 66,698).
For the week ended May 2, Connecticut had 36,166 claims, up 3,125 from the previous week’s 33,041 claims. New York had 219,413 unemployment insurance claims in the week ended May 2, up 14,229 from the previous week’s 200,833 claims.