More than 1.5 million American workers have filed for unemployment benefits, the Labour Department said in its weekly report. The department said there were a total of 1,508,000 new filings, a decrease of 58,000 from the previous week.
Most economists were expecting about 1.3 million new claims to be registered. The department’s report also revised last week’s total up by an additional 24,000 claims. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 14.1 percent.
More than 44 million Americans have filed for unemployment insurance since the start of coronavirus pandemic three months ago, although many have since returned to their jobs. The department said the U.S. economy added 2.5 million jobs for the month of May.
Continuing claims, those spanning at least two weeks, fell by 62,000 to about 20.5 million. Many analysts expected that figure would be greater; some had anticipated a decline of about 1 million claims.
Thursday’s report marked the 13th straight week that more than 1 million U.S. workers filed new claims. The total number of workers filing for benefits as of May 30, the most recent week for which data are available, was 29.1 million.
The new report said 226,800 workers — about 0.008 percent of the unemployed total — have filed for benefits under shared-work programs, an enhanced measure funded by the $2 trillion CARES Act in March that has so far been significantly underutilized by the majority of affected workers.