1.5 million people filed for unemployment benefits

  • First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 1.5 million last week, well above the 1.3 million expected.
  • Workers receiving benefits under all programs including pandemic assistance totaled 29.1 million, a decrease of more than 375,000.
  • This was the 13th straight week that claims have totaled above 1 million.


In the past 13 weeks, since the early days of the coronavirus crisis, new claims have totaled a staggering 45.7 million.

The nation’s unemployment rate was 13.3% last month, even as states began to ease lockdowns and reopen their economies. That’s down slightly from April’s spike to 14.7%, which was the highest since the Great Depression. The Federal Reserve expects it to still be more than 9% by the end of 2020.

With consumers accounting for a big chunk of economic activity, this week’s retail sales report was somewhat of a bright spot. Sales jumped 17.7% in May, with sharp increases in most categories. But that followed record drops in the two prior months and sales are still far below last year’s levels.


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