Without those adjustments — which economists use to account for seasonal hiring fluctuations — the raw number was 2.8 million.
That brings the total number of seasonally-adjusted initial claims filed since mid-March to 33.5 million. Initial claims are considered a proxy for layoffs or furloughs, and that level represents about 21% of the March labor force.
These numbers are staggeringly high; weekly jobless claims were hovering in the 200,000s in the last few years before this crisis.
But last week also marked the fifth week in a row that the number of initial claims fell. It peaked at 6.9 million in the last week of March.
Economists say the downward trend is is a good sign that things aren’t getting worse. But still, millions of new claims each week don’t help the brutal overall picture of the job market during this pandemic.
Continued jobless claims, representing workers who filed for a second week of benefits or more, rose to 22.6 million.
Not all claims result in paid benefits. That is in part due to filing mistakes and because not everyone who submits a claim is eligible for unemployment benefits.
Overall, the past seven weeks of record-high claims, dwarfing the Labor Department’s historical data, paint a clear picture: America’s jobs market is in distress and people are suffering.
–This is a developing story. It will be updated