According to the report, 4.5 million people filed continued insurance claims for unemployment, the lowest level since December 2008.
Continued claims reflect people who file each week after their initial claim until the end of standard benefits, which usually last 26 weeks but have been repeatedly extended during the recession. The figures do not include people who have exhausted their benefits or stopped looking for work.
Initial jobless claims for benefits fell by 3,000 to 456,000 from last week’s revised figure of 459,000 claims. The number includes only initial or first-time claims made by laidoff workers.
Initial claims hit 597,000 one year ago and continued insured unemployment totaled 6.5 million.
“The economic growth numbers aren’t negative, but the recovery keeps slowing down,” said Scott Testa, assistant professor of business at Cabrini College in Philadelphia, Penn., in an interview. “It does help to some point that the government is providing so many Census jobs, but what we need to get out of this is good, full-time permanent jobs.”
Employers added 431,000 jobs in May, but 411,000 of those were temporary U.S. Census positions.
“Realistically, I don’t see a major uptick in private-sector hiring until around January 2011,” Testa said.
Layoffs in Florida among several industries drove up new claims by 3,460.