Unemployment Claims Reach Lowest Level since Onset of Pandemic

This week, new unemployment claims reached their lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic began. This is an encouraging sign of an economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19. The Department of Labor released the unemployment initial claims report through May 15, and it paints an optimistic picture of the post-pandemic economy.

Department of Labor Unemployment Claims Report

Roughly 444,000 workers filed for jobless aid in the week ending of May 15. This is a decrease of 34,000 from the previous week and the lowest level since March 14, 2020. In mid-March, initial unemployment claims were 256,000 in a week. While the initial claims remain higher the pre-pandemic levels, there is reason for optimism.

The number of Americans applying for unemployment has continually declined each week, according to the Department of Labor. This consistent decline is a sign of curbing layoffs as the U.S. economy heals from the devastation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Before celebrating a return to normal, unemployment claims are still at high levels. Last week, another 95,000 people filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program for self-employed and gig workers. These claims remain at much higher levels than before the pandemic. Self-employed and gig workers’ unemployment assistance applications are nearly double pre-pandemic levels.

Looking Ahead

It is no secret that nearly all industries were negatively impacted by COVID-19. Despite the high unemployment rate, the staffing and recruiting industry has continued to experience challenges in getting people to work. With fears about personal health, lack of open positions in specific fields, and enhanced unemployment benefits, finding qualified talent remains difficult. Our predictions for the post-pandemic labor market include a shift toward fast and flexible placements and a continued struggle between open jobs and the socio-demographics of available workers. Review our strategies for staffing firms recruiting in a labor shortage to make a game plan to win in the market after the pandemic subsides.

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