The US Department of Labor has just released figures for the number of jobless claims last week. A total of 3.2 million people applied for out of work benefits over the seven-day period ending May 2.
The running total for the last seven weeks now stands at over 33 million. Despite being another week of claims well in excess of all pre-coronavirus records, there are signs that the situation is improving.
Fifth Week of Falling Jobless Claims
As BeInCrypto has previously reported, the coronavirus has taken a staggering toll on the US jobs market. Businesses closures across the nation have resulted in more people out of work than ever before.
Last week, another 3.2 million individuals were forced to appeal for unemployment benefits. Although still considerably greater than the 1982 pre-coronavirus record number of claims (700,000), it is the fifth consecutive week that the numbers have fallen.
The current all-time high in unemployment claims occurred in the week ending March 28. A total of 6,648,000 claims were made in just seven days.
Today’s figures are less than half that number, and each of the five weeks since then has seen a reduction in the number of claims. This suggests that the worst of the job market woes may now be in the past.
The unemployment figures come just a day ahead of the US Labor Department’s April report. Like current unemployment figures, economists are expecting it to be one of the worst reports ever.
A Long Road to Recovery
Although optimistic that the numbers will continue to fall from here, many do not expect fewer than 1 million weekly claims for at least another month. This would still represent a massive increase on the pre-coronavirus record unemployment claims but would be a vast improvement on those reported today. [Business Insider]
Some economists believe that the numbers will remain high because of backlogs in overwhelmed systems. Unemployment offices are not used to such a sudden surge in their use.
Others point to the slow opening of states underway, which will see some individuals return to work. [BBC] Recovery is not expected to be rapid, even with lockdown rules slackening. Despite President Trump encouraging the reopening of the US economy, it will be a slow process. Consumer confidence and spending do not return overnight, particularly following a crisis of such magnitude.