NH unemployment claims data points to an even lower jobless rate next month

Filings continue to fall as federal benefits end in state are set to end

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New Hampshire’s 2.5% unemployment rate in May was greeted with great fanfare – it was lower than the February 2020, before the pandemic began. But while new to us, it’s based on old data, from early last month.

And the rate doesn’t necessarily indicate the number of people not working, since – as anyone looking for employees knows all too well – the pool of available labor has shrunk since the pandemic.

So what has been happening to jobless numbers since early May? Are people continuing to go back to work?

The quick answer is yes.

For the week ending June 12, there were 585 new state unemployment claims filed in New Hampshire, according to federal Department of Labor statistics released Thursday morning, just two shy of the number reported the week before, and just 200 more claims than were filed before the pandemic hit.

Better news is that roughly another 1,500 people returned to work during the previous week, ending June 5. Continuing claims went down by nearly 9%, to 12,572, after going down 13% the previous week.

But the state has still not returned to normal yet, since continuing claims are about three times higher than pre-pandemic levels. But that might change when the $300 weekly federal enhancement ends in New Hampshire next week.

So will all of the federal benefits going to those collecting under expanded federal eligibility. Most of them are self-employed, but a good chunk are stay home for Covid-related reasons, mainly to provide care to a dependent.

Those federal continuing claims from the week ending May 29 fell over 19%, to 6,370, after dropping 6% the week before.

Granite Staters collecting extended benefits (beyond the traditional 26 weeks) will be cut off next week too. Such claims fell by 10%, to 5,173, in the week ending May 29, after going down by nearly 6% the week before.

All federal benefits will continue about half the states until Labor Day, but Governor Chris Sununu decided to end them on June 19.

Nationally, traditional new claims rose 7%, to 385,000, after a 2% decline.

Categories: Government, News