Initial jobless claims for regular state programs totaled 2.44 million in the week ended May 16, Labor Department figures showed Thursday. The prior week’s figure was revised down by 294,000 to 2.69 million after a clerical error by Connecticut labor officials inflated the overall nationwide figure. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 2.4 million claims in the latest week.
Initial claims under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program — which expands unemployment benefits to those not traditionally eligible, such the self-employed and gig workers — totaled 2.23 million last week on an unadjusted basis.
A separate report Thursday showed manufacturing in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s region contracted at a slower pace in May. The regional Fed bank’s gauge of business activity improved to minus 43.1 from a 40-year low in April of minus 56.6.
The enormous influx of claims has overwhelmed state unemployment offices. Florida, which has received more than 2 million total claims since March 15, has about 200,000 filings in its queue awaiting verification. Backlogs have led to delays for millions of Americans across the country in receiving payment, as states scramble to keep up with the unprecedented number of claims.