Another 2.91 Million Americans Filed for Unemployment Last Week The good news it that the numbers, while still stunning in aggregate, are on the decline.
The Department of Labor has released its latest jobs statistics, and the numbers once again reflect a record-shattering period of mass layoffs and furloughs. During the week ending May 9, an additional 2,981,000 Americans — according to seasonally adjusted advance figures — filed for unemployment. This is actually a decrease of 195,000 applications from the previous week's revised total of 3,176,000, continuing a steady downward trend as we find ourselves deeper into nationwide lockdowns but at a further remove from the initial slashing of part- and full-time positions in hard-hit industries like the service and hospitality sectors.
More than 35 million American workers have lost their jobs since the economy was all but cordoned off in early to mid-March. As more states weigh measures to gradually reopen against potential public-health consequences, some are optimistic that unemployment data will begin looking less foreboding in the short-term.
In an interview with CNBC following the DOL's latest report, Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, remarked, "With most states only beginning to ease their lockdowns within the last 10 days, we expect a much bigger swing in hiring versus firing over the next couple of weeks, which suggests the unemployment rate will begin to drop back."
Though even if that's the case, there remains concern about whether those still collecting weekly unemployment benefits will be able to access them.