Missouri unemployment filings eclipse half a million in 7 weeks

More than half a million Missourians have filed for unemployment in the last seven weeks as the coronavirus continues to fuel job losses.

Missouri saw 52,203 initial unemployment claims for the week ended May 2, according to new data from the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. That was down about 2,500, or 4.6%, from the week before.

The average number of claims for the last four weeks has been about 67,000.

Last week brought the state’s lowest number of first-time unemployment claims since the week ended March 21, when about 42,000 people filed. Still, the 52,000 claims were more than 10 times higher than the average for the first 11 weeks of the year, before job losses started to spike due to COVID-19.

Nationally, 3.2 million people filed for unemployment for the week ended May 2, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Labor increasing the number of claims over the last seven weeks to about 33.5 million. Last week brought the lowest total of first-time filings since the week ended March 14, before job losses began to soar. Even so, last week’s figure was more than four times the country’s pre-coronavirus high of 695,000, recorded in 1982.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its April jobs report Friday, and national unemployment is expected to hit at least 16%, the Associated Press reports.

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