Millions more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total to about 33.5 million since the coronavirus began closing restaurants, factories and offices from coast to coast in mid-March.
Initial jobless claims totaled 3.17 million in the week ended May 2 following 3.85 million in the prior week, according to a Labor Department report released Thursday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 3 million.
Continuing claims, or the total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits, rose to a fresh record of 22.6 million in the week ended April 25. That, in turn, sent the insured unemployment rate, or the number receiving benefits as a share of the labor force based on eligibility, to 15.5%. Those data are reported with a one-week lag.
California, Texas and Georgia reported the highest levels of unadjusted initial claims last week. Most states posted declines from the prior week.
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