Fewer people are initially claiming unemployment in South Dakota

The latest number of continued claims is 19,629 for the week ending May 23.

Initial jobless claims for regular state programs totaled 1.54 million in the week ended June 6, down from 1.9 million in the prior week, Labor Department figures showed on Thursday (June 11).

"The steady retreat in claims is a positive development, but the labor market has suffered a traumatic blow, and a full recovery will be measured in years, not weeks or months", lead United States economist at Oxford Economics in New York Nancy Vanden Houten told Reuters, adding: "The figures don't capture the full extent of the blow dealt to workers during this unique crisis".

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New Jersey's unemployment rate soared to 15.3% in April, the highest since record keeping began in 1976, according to the state labor department. "But it is still hard to square the claims figures with the much more upbeat news on the labour market from May's Employment Report".

"The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 30 was 20,929,000, a decrease of 339,000 from the previous week's revised level".

Adding to the initial jobless claims filed in last week were 705,676 people who applied for benefits under a special programme for contractors and gig economy workers.

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"A persistent decline in the PUA claims as we've seen in the regular claims data would further increase our conviction in the labor market stabilization and suggest processing backlogs have been cleared".

On Friday, the government surprisingly reported that the economy gained 2.5 million jobs in May and that the unemployment rate unexpectedly declined from 14.7% to a still-high 13.3%.

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance.

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