New Jobless Claims Continue To Fall, But Exceed Estimates: 'They Turned Down The Heat In Hell'

Americans made 1.5 million new jobless claims in the week ending June 13, down 58,000 from the prior week, the Department of Labor said Thursday.

The consensus expectation was for 1.3 million new filings. 

The prior week's number was revised upward by 24,000 claims. 

Layoffs Slowing: These reported numbers continue the trend of initial jobless claims slowing in recent weeks after hitting record highs in March. Total jobless claims are slowing in count, but Thursday's figure still represents the 13th week straight with over 1 million new claims.

The latest Congressional Budget Office predictions place third-quarter unemployment estimates at 16%. 

Why It Matters: “While the pace of first time jobless claims has declined over the past few weeks, that is a little like saying they turned down the heat in hell,” Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM, said in an email Thursday. 

“The pre-pandemic peak for continuing claims was 6.6 million for the week ending May 29, 2009 during the Great Financial Crisis,” Brusuelas said.

The continuing claims for the week ended June 6 totaled 20.5 million, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Expanded Benefits: Expanded unemployment benefits are expected to run out in July, and some lawmakers are offering alternatives to encourage people to go back to work.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell did not specifically say the benefits will continue when testifying to Congress this week. 

Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, told CNBC that he is proposing a $450 payment to those Americans who return to work.

Rep. Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican, has suggested that those who accept a new job should be able to keep the enhanced benefits for up to two weeks after accepting a job. 

What's Next: After the initial shock of individuals filing for unemployment, major companies are still announcing new rounds of layoffs, including those on the corporate side.

Hilton Hotels Corporation HLT announced the layoff of more than 2,000 staff this week.

While some Americans are starting to be recalled from furloughs, it is still important to watch for new layoffs. 

State unemployment numbers will be released Friday. 


Posted In: employmentJoe BrusuelasRSMUnemploymentNewsEcon #s