May 18, 2023 - Economy

Initial jobless claims fall after drop in fake filings in Massachusetts

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

There is an odd reason that helps explain why jobless claims swung higher in recent weeks. It comes down to Massachusetts, which appeared to have a surge in layoffs that sent applications for unemployment benefits higher.

Yes, but: State officials say it was actually "an increase in fraudulent claim activities."

Driving the news: The latest data suggests the problem has been cleared up. The result is the biggest single-week plunge in unemployment filings since 2021, as Bloomberg points out.

By the numbers: Jobless claims fell by 22,000 to 242,000 last week.

  • The prior week's numbers had been heavily boosted by a jump in filings in Massachusetts, which accounted for nearly half of the increase of the (unadjusted) filings across the nation.

The bottom line: The big-picture story about the labor market remains intact: There are still relatively low levels of unemployment filings, and those who have lost work are finding new gigs quickly.

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