Economists' Outlook

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Under 2 Million New Unemployment Claims; First Time Since the Week Ending March 14

Tracking jobless claims by state: week ending May 30

Weekly jobless claims totaled under 2 million for the first time since the week ending March 14. New unemployment claims continue to rise more slowly as some people return to work. Specifically, in the week ending May 30, seasonally adjusted new claims were 1,877,000, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week's revised level. In the meantime, continued claims, which show how many Americans received unemployment benefits, increased to 21.5 million in the week ending May 23, a gain of 649,000 from the previous week's revised level.

The National Association of REALTORS® closely monitors the weekly claims for unemployment insurance provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since this data is also released for each state, we track the jobless claims activity at the state level. This state-level data report is a very important indicator to watch at economic turning points because it provides detail on what’s happening week by week, rather than each month or quarter.

Forty-eight states reported a decrease in new claims for the week ending May 30. Actually, in 25 of these states, new claims have declined for four weeks in a row. New York, Michigan, and Texas were the states with the highest decline in unemployment claims compared to the previous week. The number of new claims dropped by 106,106 in New York; 23,539 in Michigan; 20,896 in Texas.

However, unadjusted advance claims increased in Florida, California, and Mississippi. Specifically, the number of advance claims increased by 31,083 claims in Florida; 27,199 in California; and 89 in Mississippi. 

Taking a closer look at the percentage change of the last week’s new claims with the new claims of the previous week, South Dakota (-59%) had the largest drop in layoffs followed by New York (-56%) and Iowa (-49%). In contrast, in Florida, layoffs increased by 18% from the previous week.

Moreover, the current release provides information about people filing new and total Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Among 35 states, 10.7 million people received benefits in the week ending on May 16 using the federal government’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Comparing local labor forces, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Maine had the most people receiving PUA benefits.  Specifically, 47% of the labor force in Massachusetts received PUA benefits in the week ending May 16 followed by Michigan (46%) and Maine (20%).

The map below shows you the percentage change of layoffs for each state. Click on a state to see how many layoffs occurred every week within the last year. 

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