Economists began shifting their focus from initial claims to continuing claims in May, as the number of first-time filers continued to drop
More than a quarter of the labor force - 42.6 million people - has now claimed benefits since the pandemic began ravaging the US labor market.
Another 1.9 million workers filed for initial unemployment aid last week, according to the US Department of Labor, reports the CNN.
Claims again fell from the previous week, a trend that has held for the past ten weeks, ever since first-time claims peaked at 6.9 million in the last week of March.
Continuing claims, which count people who have filed benefits for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 21.5 million. This number unexpectedly increased slightly from the week prior.
Economists began shifting their focus from initial claims to continuing claims in May, as the number of first-time filers continued to drop.
Continuing claims declined in the previous week, suggesting more people are returning to work as the economy is reopening. But, as last week's increase proves, the progress is painfully slow. And moving faster to reopen could increase the threat of spreading Covid-19.
For 11 weeks in a row, jobless claims have been in the millions. Before the pandemic, the labor department had never recorded a single week of jobless claims over a million.
America's unemployment rate is expected to have reached nearly 20 percent in March, with 28.5 million jobs eliminated over the past two months. That's an unemployment rate not recorded since the Great Depression, and the highest monthly level since the data collection began in 1948.