First-time jobless claims continued their downward march for the week ending May 15, falling to 444,000 as new filings for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance declined to 95,086, down from 103,678 for the week ending May 8. There were 3.75 million continuing claims for the week ending May 8.
Through the week ending May 1, there were 15.97 million people on some form of unemployment insurance.
Initial claims during the past two sampling periods for the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate of monthly employment have declined from 765,000 to 444,000, or by 321,000 people. That sustained decline suggests that the softer-than-expected gain of 266,000 in the April employment estimate is likely an outlier and not a harbinger of things to come.
We strongly suggest that firm managers, investors and policymakers should anticipate more robust monthly job gains for the remainder of the year and a steady march downward on the overall unemployment rate to 4.1% by the holiday season.
For more information on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting midsize businesses, please visit the RSM Coronavirus Resource Center.