Unemployment claims rose in North Dakota last week

Adrienne Roberts and Kristi Tanner
Detroit Free Press

Initial claims for regular unemployment benefits in North Dakota increased last week compared with the week prior, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

New claims, a proxy for layoffs, rose to 539 in the week ending May 29, up from 526 the week before, the Labor department said.

There were 2,315 new claims in North Dakota at the same time last year.

U.S. unemployment claims continued their downward slide. Claims for regular benefits dropped to 385,000 last week, down 20,000 claims from 405,000 the week prior on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Claims on a seasonally adjusted basis have now declined for five straight weeks. Last week marks the first time claims have fallen below 400,000 since before the pandemic.

Without adjusting the data for expected seasonal spikes in unemployment claims, new claims rose slightly to 425,450, up from 419,436 the week prior.

AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab, called the decline a "definitive labor market improvement after months of stagnation."

New claims have fallen significantly after peaking at more than 6 million claims in early April of last year, but are still at elevated levels compared with just before the pandemic, when there were about 200,000 new claims on a weekly basis.

Not all indicators are positive though, Konkel noted. There were still 5.3 million continued claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits, a federal program that extends regular state benefits, showcasing "long term joblessness in real time," she said.

Kentucky saw the largest percentage increase in weekly claims, with claims jumping by 118.4%.West Virginia, meanwhile, saw the largest percentage drop in new claims, with claims dropping by 37.4%.