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Americans file 2.4 million jobless claims

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Another 2.43 million United States workers were put out of work last week amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to government data Thursday, bringing the total since mid-March to a massive 38.6 million.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that 2.44 million Americans filed for first-time benefits in the week that ended May 16, bringing the total to some 38.6 million workers in the nine weeks since the coronavirus-induced lockdown has closed large parts of the USA economy.

South Dakota's unemployment rate for April soared to more than 10 percent; but recently, the number of people filing initial unemployment claims has dropped.

While the region's economic activity over the past week has increased with southwestern Pennsylvania moving from red to yellow in the governor's three-phased plan to return to normal, Briem said he was not sure how many workers are going from collecting unemployment benefits to getting paychecks.

Last week, 4,640 initial claims were filed for state unemployment benefits and 7,043 new claims were filed for federal benefits under the PUA program.

The U.S. labor market experienced another wave of first-time unemployment claims last week, indicating layoffs are continuing at a high rate even though some states are reopening their economies. Previously, it only reported federally mandated unemployment claims data, an imperfect gauge for the number of people who have lost their jobs because thousands of reported claims are duplicates.

More than one-half of the region's jobless workers - 102,000 - are in Allegheny County.

Jobless claims have reached into the millions on a weekly basis since mid-March, underscoring the depth and breadth of job losses.

Unemployment is expected to remain elevated through the end of next year, and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers earlier this week that longer-term joblessness risks extended damage to the economy. Other data indicated manufacturing in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's region contracted at a slower pace in May than the prior month. Continuing claims on that basis totaled 22.9 million for the week ended May 9, following 20.9 million.

Almost one-third of the job losses occurred in the leisure and hospitality sector, which lost 577,700 jobs, mostly in accommodation and food services, the department said.

Data from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development shows Tennessee saw an unemployment rate of 14.7% during the month of April amid the pandemic. The fix was reflected in Thursday's report.

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