US Jobless Claims Understate Reality With Gaps in Federal Data

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The state is accepting PUA applications, and paying them out, but just not reporting the activities yet, said Napier, who expects work on the program for PUA data reporting to be complete either this week or next week.

New data from the Department of Labor released Thursday show another 1.9 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, marking the first time in more than two months new claims fell below 2 million within a seven day period.

The number of initial claims and individual claimants both decreased from the previous week, when the state reported about 37,000 initial unemployment claims filed by 24,500 individuals.

Job losses peaked at 6.6 million at the beginning of April, and some economists have predicted that May's upcoming monthly jobs report will see unemployment figures rising close to 20%. That week, March 14, there were only 2,702 new claims. In a number of states, the April unemployment rate was much higher, with over 20% of Hawaii's labor force and over 25% in Nevada.

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The weekly jobless claims report is the most timely data on the economy's health, but it could become hard to get a clear picture of the labor market in the weeks ahead.

New claims for the week ending May 30 increased by 31,083 to 206,494 in the Sunshine State. There were another 13,500 initial claims for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

It will be important to watch continuing jobless claims over the next couple of weeks, economists said. After the last 11 combined weeks of jobless claims, the number of Americans filing for unemployment since the coronavirus crisis began in earnest in mid-March is now approaching 40 million, or about 25% of the US labor force. It's not unusual for states to borrow federal funds during economic downturns. Economists polled by Refinitiv expect the USA economy to have shed another eight million jobs in May.

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