Newly Unemployed Rates Fall, Sort of

First time applications for state unemployment benefits in the week ending April 25 dropped 14,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 631,000, the Labor Department reports, indicating a slowing pace of job losses. However, this number changes on a state-by-state basis and people without jobs are finding it harder to get back into the workforce. The total number of people who are still looking for work, and remain on benefits, increased 133,000 to a record-setting 6.27m. The insured unemployment rate for the week ending April 25 — the proportion of covered workers who are receiving benefits — reached 4.7%, marking its highest level since June of 1983. And the four week moving average of initial claims, which can smooth volatility in employment trends, turned upward, increasing 131,500 from the prior week to 6,076,000. Despite the tentative signs that the pace of layoffs has slowed, Steven Wood, president of Insight Economics LLC, told Bloomberg News the figures still “suggest another sharp drop in employment and another big rise in the unemployment rate for April.” The largest increases in initial claims were seen in California — where 8,535 people filed a claim — New York, Connecticut, Georgia and North Carolina. The largest decreases in claims were seen in Pennsylvania — where claims dropped 7,799 — Florida, Illinois, Ohio and Washington. Write to Kelly Curran at [email protected].

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