The number of Americans applying for initial unemployment benefits totaled 1.88 million in the week ending May 30, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday, but the number of continuing claims surprisingly rose, in a sign that re-hiring isn’t necessarily keeping up with the pace of new job losses.
The initial claims number was broadly in-line with forecasts and was down from 2.12 million in the prior week.This was the first time this figure had fallen below 2 million since late March. Claims have been gradually decreasing since hitting a record 6.86 million in the week ended March 28.
However, continuing claims, which show the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid, came in above expectations at 21.49 million in the week ended May 23, up slightly from 21.05 million a week earlier.
Continuing claims figures are reported with a one-week delay but are considered offering a better view of the labor market.
The figures out each week have gained renewed attention for quickly showing the depth of the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as signs that a recovery is starting as business restrictions ease.
They are seen as particularly important this week following the better than expected gauge of private-sector employment from ADP (NASDAQ:ADP) on Wednesday, and ahead of Friday’s official monthly employment report.