Weekly jobless claims fell by 4,000 to 264,000 last week. That came in lower than the estimate for 270,000. The prior week was revised higher by 1,000 to 268,000.
The four-week moving average–which is widely considered a better gauge, as it irons out week-to-week ups and downs–was 269,500, a decline of 7,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 276,750 to 277,000.
A Labor Department analyst said no special factors influenced the data and no state was triggered “on” the Extended Benefits program during the week ending May 21. The report marks 66 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the threshold typically associated with a strong labor market. However, while it is the longest streak since 1973 they have remained under the threshold, it is also due to a number of factors–including chronic long-term unemployment.
In essence, there are two many people simply no longer eligible to file claims for and collect state unemployment insurance.
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending May 21 were in Alaska (3.3), West Virginia (2.6), Wyoming (2.6), Puerto Rico (2.4), New Jersey (2.3), California (2.2), Connecticut (2.2), Pennsylvania (2.2), Illinois (1.9), Massachusetts (1.9), and Nevada (1.9).
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending May 28 were in California (+3,827), Georgia (+1,832), Puerto Rico (+1,547), Illinois (+1,217), and Indiana (+720), while the largest decreases were in Oregon (-1,700), Virginia (-650), North Carolina (-647), Iowa (-587), and Pennsylvania (-551).