As the American economy moves toward its full capacity to produce, the labor market continues to improve. First-time jobless claims fell to a pandemic low of 385,000 for the week ending May 29, according to government data released on Thursday.
This report is another in a series of encouraging jobs data that strongly implies that the economy is transitioning from recovery to expansion and moving back toward full employment. We expect the economy will return to full employment—an unemployment rate somewhere between 3.5% and 4%—in 2022.
While the initial jobless claims report is encouraging, there are still 15.4 million people on some form of unemployment insurance, including 3.46 million on regular state benefits, 6.3 million on federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and 5.29 million on Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.
There were 76,098 filings for new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and 3.7 million people filed continuing claims for the week ending May 22. It is important to note that Thursday’s data will not affect the initial estimate for the May jobs report, which will be released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Claims for the week ending May 29 will influence the June jobs report.
For more information on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting midsize businesses, please visit the RSM Coronavirus Resource Center.