US unemployment claims climbed by 1.88 mn last week

The number of US unemployment claims totalled 1.88 million last week as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the nation, the Labour Department reported.

In the week ending May 30, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 249,000 from the prior week to 1,877,000, the ninth weekly decline in a row but remaining staggeringly high, Xinhua news agency quoted the Department as saying on Thursday.

With the latest numbers, 42.6 million initial jobless claims have been filed over the past 11 weeks, meaning that nearly 28 per cent of all Americans employed in February lost their jobs, at least temporarily, according to Tim Quinlan, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities.

“Last week we were excited to see that continuing claims fell, indicating that gross hiring had picked up enough to pull down the number of people receiving benefits.

“There was no such consolation this week, as they rose again to 21.5 million,” Quinlan said on Thursday.

The Labour Department is expected to release its jobs report in May on Friday.

US employers cut a staggering 20.5 million jobs in April, and the unemployment rate soared to a record 14.7 per cent.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, a major accounting firm, believed that US unemployment will remain painfully high in May and throughout the summer.

“We can be hopeful that the economy may be hitting bottom but we need a new language that goes well beyond recession and recovery to describe the persistent pain triggered by COVID-19,” Swonk tweeted Thursday.

Fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will shrink the size of the US economy by $7.9 trillion over the next decade, according to new projections issued by the Congressional Budget Office on Monday.