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New Weekly Jobless Claims Continue Falling

New weekly jobless claims dropped again for the fifth consecutive week to a 14-month low of 385,000, a decrease of 20,000 for the week ending May 29, according to the weekly report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Thursday (June 3).

This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500. The previous week’s level was revised down by 1,000 from 406,000 to 405,000. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was unchanged from the week before, coming in at 2.5 percent during the week ending May 22. The advance unadjusted level of insured unemployment in state programs totaled 3.504 million, an increase of 22,860 (or 0.7 percent) from the preceding week, per the BLS report. 

During the week ending May 15, Extended Benefits were available in the following 13 states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas.

Maryland is the latest state to announce its withdrawal from the federal unemployment benefits launched to help people unemployed during the pandemic, CNN reported. So far, 25 Republican-led states have dropped the program, which isn’t set to expire until Sept. 6.

Aside from adding $300 to state benefits, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program benefited gig workers, freelancers and self-employed workers. Rafael Espinal, executive director of the Freelancers Union, told CBS that this segment of workers has grown from about 52 million in 2015 to 57 million in 2019.

Historic jobless claims are coinciding with a surge in the number of jobs available, with employers saying they are having trouble getting workers to fill available jobs. Foodservice, transportation and construction industries have all reported they are facing workforce shortages. 

To help remedy the nationwide labor shortages, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching America Works, an initiative to help reverse this trend.

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