Unemployment claims rise a bit nationally; Washington added 8,300 jobs in May; and a look at what’s next for entrepreneurs.

Catching up on a few items in the employment sphere.

First, we’re told not to be alarmed by a slight boost in national unemployment claims.

In the week ending June 12, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 412,000, an increase of 37,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 1,000 from 376,000 to 375,000. The 4-week moving average was 395,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500. The previous week’s average was revised up by 500 from 402,500 to 403,000.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5 percent for the week ending June 5, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate.

From the AP story:

For jobless claims to rise slightly “should not be cause for concern yet,” said AnnElizabeth Konkel, economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab.

“The big picture is that while we are not back to a ‘normal’ level yet of initial claims, they are no longer astronomically high.”


the speed of the rebound from the recession has caught many businesses off guard and touched off a scramble to hire. In May, employers added a less-than-expected 559,000 jobs, evidence that many companies are struggling to find enough workers as the economy recovers faster than expected.

But many economists expect hiring to catch up with demand in the coming months, especially as federal unemployment aid programs end and more people pursue jobs. They note that the economy still has 7.6 million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic struck.

And employers are posting job openings faster than applicants can fill them.

Expect the recovery to continue, employment to rise, and UI claims to fall further. 

In Washington, the Employment Security Department released May’s Monthly Employment Report, showing job growth, but growth that’s slower than most of us would like to see. 

On a seasonally adjusted basis, preliminary estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate nonfarm employment in Washington rose by 8,300 in May 2021.1 BLS estimates the private sector gained 7,000 jobs during the month and the public sector gained 1,300 jobs.

On a not seasonally adjusted basis, estimates for May 2020 through May 2021 indicate an increase in employment of 248,900 for the state. The private sector gained 229,500 jobs while the public sector gained an estimated 19,400 jobs over the year.

Finally, just because we find speculation about the post-pandemic economy fascinating, we call your attention to Joel Kotkin’s article, The Next Entrepreneurial Revolution.

The virus-driven disruption has proved more profound than anything imagined by Silicon Valley, costing more jobs than in any year since the Great Depression. But there’s also good news, as Americans’ instinctive entrepreneurial spirit is driving growth and innovation: 4.4 million new business applications were recorded by census data in 2020, compared with roughly 3.5 million in 2019. Self-employment, pummeled at first, has recovered more rapidly than conventional salaried jobs, as more Americans reinvent themselves as entrepreneurs.

It’s a relatively short piece, worth your time.