Nearly 3 million unemployment claims filed nationally last week, bringing 2-month total to 36.5 million.

Another 3 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Labor.

In the week ending May 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 2,981,000, a decrease of 195,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 7,000 from 3,169,000 to 3,176,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,616,500, a decrease of 564,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 7,000 from 4,173,500 to 4,180,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 15.7 percent for the week ending May 2, an increase of 0.3 percentage point from the previous week’s revised rate.

The accompanying graph shows a decline in the number of new claims, but the numbers remain horrible.

The Wall Street Journal report includes a bit of optimism.

“The numbers are very high, but they’re stepping down every week, and I see no reason why that decline in filings wouldn’t continue,” said Keith Hall, chief economist for the Council of Economic Advisers under former President George W. Bush. “Employers are likely poised to bring people back, but right now we’re in a holding pattern.”


Thursday’s jobless claims report could provide a glimpse at how state reopenings are influencing unemployment numbers, said Adam Kamins, director of economic research at Moody’s Analytics.

“I don’t think we’ll be able to draw conclusions yet because there’s a lot of noise in data, and other factors are at play,” he said. “But it may start to point us in the direction of understanding what the upside to reopening is.”

We’re all looking for the upside.