California is the largest state in the US, but with the recent jobless claims topping 40 million, there are more people now unemployed than there are people who live in the state of California as CNBC reports.
First-time claims for unemployment benefits totaled 2.1 million last week, the lowest total since the coronavirus crisis began though indicative that a historically high number of Americans remain separated from their jobs.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 2.05 million. The total represented a decrease of 323,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised 2.438 million.
Continuing claims, or those who have been collecting for at least two weeks, numbered 21.05 million, a clearer picture of how many workers are still sidelined. That number dropped sharply, falling 3.86 million from the previous week.
The insured unemployment rate, which is a basic calculation of those collecting benefits vs. the total labor force, came down sharply to 14.5% from 17.1% the previous week.
“Layoffs continue at a massive scale, according to the latest unemployment insurance report, but it may be that the job market is nearing a turning point,” said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC.
The four-week moving average, which helps smooth out weekly volatility, rose to 22.72 million, an increase of 760,250 from the previous week.
Since the pandemic was declared in mid-March, 40.8 million have filed claims as social distancing measures aimed at containing the coronavirus outbreak resulted in much of the $21.5 trillion U.S. economy being in lockdown for 2½ months.
A separate report Thursday showed that first-quarter GDP contracted by 5%, while the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow tracker is indicating a 41.9% plunge in Q2 that will be the worst in U.S. history. That would put the U.S. firmly in recession territory, though most economists are expecting a rebound in the second half of the year after restrictions are lifted. (source)