New jobless claims in the week ending June 5 dropped again — the sixth time in a row — coming in at 376,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 385,000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s latest weekly report on Thursday (June 10).
This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020, when it was 256,000. During the week ending May 22, states reported 6.35 million continued weekly claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits and 5.23 million continued claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.
May 6 was the first time new jobless claims fell below 500,000 since the pandemic took hold in March 2020. New filings have been trending lower across the past few weeks as economic activity rebounds.
Some 24 states are ending federal pandemic-era benefits before the national expiration date of Sept. 6, Yahoo Finance reported. Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi and Missouri are expected to pull most programs as soon as Friday (June 11) as state officials try to get more people to start working again.
Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal forecast a decline to 370,000, slightly below this week’s numbers.
“Employers have lots of jobs; they can’t find people, so they’re holding very tight to the workers they have,” said David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide Mutual Insurance, per WSJ.
The shortage of available workers is stalling economic recovery for small businesses nationwide, according to a study by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) this month.
The labor shortage in the restaurant business — among the hardest hit during the pandemic — pushed hourly wages to $16.28 an hour in March, a record high. But some eateries can’t find workers at annual salaries of $40,000 for full-time staff and $20 per hour for part-timers.