10-week unemployment claim tally surpasses 40 million

A total of 2.12 million Americans filed initial unemployment claims in the week ended May 23, according to seasonally adjusted data released May 28 by the U.S. Labor Department.

The count represents a decrease of 323,000 claims from the previous week's revised level of 2.45 million and the eighth week of a downward trend, according to Bloomberg News. However, it is higher than the 212,000 average in January and February.

Overall, Americans filed more than 40 million unemployment claims in the last 10 weeks, according to the Labor Department.

The number of continuing claims — which count people's ongoing benefit claims — was 21.1 million in the week ended May 16, down 3.9 million from the week prior, according to The Wall Street Journal. Before 2020, the record was 6.5 million in 2009.

The Journal noted that the latest government data indicates employers are laying off more workers, but it also pointed out that new job losses are offset by workers being rehired after shelter-in-place restrictions were lifted or finding new employment. Self-employed and gig economy workers receiving unemployment benefits via the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program are also not included in the Labor Department's overall weekly jobless claims count. 


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