Sat, 04 Jul 2020

WASHINGTON, May 28 (Xinhua) - The number of initial jobless claims in the United States totaled 2.1 million last week as COVID-19 continues to sweep the nation, bringing the 10-week total to more than 40 million, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

In the week ending May 23, the number of Americans filing for U.S. unemployment benefits decreased by 323,000 from the prior week to 2,123,000, the eighth weekly decline in a row.

The new report also showed that the four-week moving average, a method to iron out data volatility, decreased by 436,000 to reach 2.6 million.

As COVID-19 shutdowns rippled through the workforce, initial jobless claims spiked by 3 million to reach a record 3.3 million in the week ending March 21, then doubled to reach a record 6.87 million in the week ending March 28. After that, figures have been declining, though still at high levels.

The new jobless claims data came on the same day as the U.S. Commerce Department revised down the first quarter GDP to a 5.0-percent annualized contraction, 0.2 percentage point lower than the advance estimate.

Earlier this month, the Labor Department reported that U.S. employers cut a staggering 20.5 million jobs in April, and the unemployment rate soared to a record 14.7 percent.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell recently said the U.S. economy could shrink dramatically in the second quarter, at an annualized rate of around 30 percent, and the unemployment rate could peak around 20 percent or 25 percent.

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