Unemployment drops slightly as states grapple with federal benefits | national


(The Center Square) – Recently released federal data shows unemployment figures improved slightly this week as states consider denying federal unemployment benefits.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released data Thursday showing that the number of new jobless claims filed changed little over the past week. Although unemployment has improved since the pandemic, it remains significantly higher than pre-pandemic figures.

“Unemployment rates were lower in May in 21 states and the District of Columbia, higher in 1 state and stable in 28 states,” the BLS said. “All 50 states and the district experienced a drop in unemployment rates from the previous year.”

“Non-farm payroll employment increased in 14 states, declined in 1 state, and remained essentially unchanged in 35 states and the District of Columbia in May 2021,” the BLS added.

Hawaii leads the country with the highest unemployment rate at 8.1%.

“The next highest rates were in New Mexico, 8.0%, and California, 7.9%,” BLS said. “New Hampshire had the lowest unemployment rate, 2.5%, followed closely by Nebraska and Vermont, 2.6% each. In total, 27 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 5.8%, 12 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 11 states had rates that were not significantly different from those in the United States. nation.

The national unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points from last month to 5.8%.

“In May, Delaware and Rhode Island recorded the largest unemployment rate declines in the month (-0.5 percentage point each), followed by Connecticut, Hawaii, New York and South Carolina (-0.4 point each), ”BLS said. “Ohio saw the only rate hike in May (+0.3 percentage point). Twenty-eight states had unemployment rates that were not significantly different from a month earlier, although some experienced changes at least as numerically as large as the significant changes. “

The numbers come after the Biden administration touted a steady decline in unemployment nationwide earlier this month.

“Since President Biden took office, average jobless claims have fallen for the ninth consecutive week and have been cut in half, and the economy has averaged 540,000 new jobs per month,” the White House in a statement earlier this month. “Americans are getting back to work and our economy is on the right track. “

Last week, however, new jobless claims rose 37,000 from the previous week, ending that steady improvement.

Republican states across the country have taken action to reduce unemployment by rejecting weekly $ 300 federal unemployment benefits aimed at helping families during COVID. But many companies have reported difficulty hiring workers despite the availability of jobs.

Republicans have pointed to federal benefits, saying they make it easier to stay home than return to the workforce. Many states have announced that they will no longer accept payments.

Republicans in the North Carolina House and Senate reached an agreement Wednesday to reject the benefits, citing the same concerns. Governor Roy Cooper has spoken unfavorably about the plan, but will now review the legislation.

“I’m not going to analyze the precise cause and effect, but let’s face it, it’s easier not to work than to work,” said Senator Chuck Edwards.


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