2.4 million unemployment claims filed last week

A total of 2.44 million Americans filed unemployment claims in the week ending May 16, according to seasonally adjusted data released May 21 by the U.S. Labor Department.

The count represents a decrease of 249,000 claims from the previous week's revised level of 2.69 million.

While millions of Americans filed unemployment claims again the week ending May 16, self-employed and gig economy workers receiving unemployment benefits via the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program are not included in the Labor Department's overall weekly jobless claims count, The Wall Street Journal reported. Therefore, the actual number of people seeking jobless benefits has been higher since the pandemic assistance program began.

Self-employed and gig economy workers receiving unemployment benefits are included in data from states. A Labor Department spokesperson told The Journal that 43 states were paying unemployment benefits to newly eligible workers as of May 19.

Overall, Americans have filed nearly 39 million unemployment claims since March 21, although some workers may have been rehired after shelter-in-place restrictions were lifted.

The latest government data comes after the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the U.S. lost 20.5 million jobs in April, and the unemployment rate reached 14.7 percent, the highest since the Great Depression. The healthcare industry has not been immune, with 1.4 million jobs lost in April, primarily in ambulatory healthcare services. 


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