New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits rose 4,000 for the week ending May 20 to a seasonally adjusted 229,000. The previous week’s figure was revised down by 17,000 to 225,000. The four-week moving average as of May 20 was unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised number at 231,750.
The number of continuing unemployment insurance claims, which refers to the number of unemployed workers who filed for benefits at least two weeks ago and are actively receiving unemployment benefits, fell 5,000 from the previous week’s unrevised number to a seasonally adjusted 1.794 million for the week ending May 13. Reporting for continuing claims lags one week.
Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.
The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.
For information about unemployment insurance programs across the country, click here.