The layoffs continue. The U.S. Department of Labor reports 1.9 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week.
In the week ending May 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 1,877,000, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 3,000 from 2,123,000 to 2,126,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,284,000, a decrease of 324,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 750 from 2,608,000 to 2,608,750.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 14.8 percent for the week ending May 23, an increase of 0.5 percentage point from the previous week’s revised rate.
The total number of people who are receiving jobless aid rose slightly to 21.5 million, down from a peak of nearly 25 million two weeks ago but still at a historically high level. It shows that scattered rehiring is offsetting only some of the ongoing layoffs with the economy mired in a recession. Thursday’s latest weekly number from the Labor Department is still more than double the record high that prevailed before the viral outbreak.
Still, the number of people who applied for benefits last week marked the ninth straight decline since applications spiked in mid-March. The job market meltdown that was triggered by the coronavirus may have bottomed out as more companies call at least some of their former employees back to work.
This follows yesterday’s ADP report that 2.8 million private sector jobs were lost in may.
Private sector employment decreased by 2,760,000 jobs from April to May according to the May ADP National Employment Report®. The report utilizes data through the 12th of the month. The NER uses the same time period the Bureau of Labor and Statistics uses for their survey. As such, the May NER does not reflect the full impact of COVID-19 on the overall employment situation.
Remarkably, that number amounts to good news, because it’s far fewer job losses than anticipated. At Calculated Risk, Bill McBride writes,
… the consensus forecast [was] for 9,000,000 private sector jobs lost in the ADP report.
From the AP coverage of the ADP report,
Barring a second wave of the outbreak and with some additional government support, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said the COVID-19 recession appears to have only lasted three months.
“It will be the shortest recession on record, but it will be among the most severe,” Zandi said on a call with reporters.
Short would be good.