Initial jobless claims drop to 1.9 million

Covid Unemployment by Jernej Furman is licensed under Flickr CC BY 2.0
Initial unemployment claims for the last week of May fell to 1.9 million, extending one of the worst unemployment crises in the nation's history.

The figure, while staggering, represented a continued downward trend in weekly claims from an April peak of 6.9 million, giving some economists hope that the worst part of the coronavirus-sparked crisis is in the rearview mirror.

Last week's figure of 2.1 million was revised up by 3,000. Until March, the highest weekly level of claims in history was below 700,000.

The new data also showed an additional 623,000 claims of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a program passed in March's CARES Act that expanded benefits to freelancers, the self-employed, and other groups typically not eligible for unemployment insurance.