Virus Outbreak New England Daily LIfe

A woman passes inspirational signs March 31, 2020, outside The Common Man restaurant in Concord, New Hampshire.

(The Center Square) – New Hampshire saw an eighth consecutive decline in new jobless claims last week, according to the latest data.

Numbers released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor show that about 6,000 Granite State residents filed for unemployment benefits for the week ending May 30. That’s a 17 percent drop from the previous week’s 7,200 filings.

Since the state’s economy was largely shut down by Gov. Chris Sununu in mid-March, about 205,000 people have filed for unemployment benefits in New Hampshire. For the week ending March 14, the last week before the spike in coronavirus cases led to the shutdown, New Hampshire saw only 642 jobless claims.

New Hampshire's worst week during the shutdown for new claims was the week ending April 4, when about 39,200 people filed for benefits. The latest numbers, while down significantly from that peak, are still about nine times higher than the pre-shutdown data.

New Hampshire is advancing through Sununu's reopening plan, which progressively allows more and more sectors of the economy to begin ramping up activity. Economists and officials are hoping that an economic rebound after all businesses are allowed to reopen will lead to a round of hiring, bringing the unemployment rate back down.

Nationally, about 1.9 million people filed for unemployment, according to the latest numbers, bringing the national total during the 11 weeks of the outbreak to more than 42 million. Florida had the largest jump in new claims with a 17 percent increase, and South Dakota had the biggest decline at 59 percent.

California, the most populous state, led the nation with more than 230,000 claims; New Hampshire was 38th-highest.

Regional Editor

Dave Lemery is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience. He was the editor of Suburban Life Media when its flagship newspaper was named best weekly in Illinois, and he has worked at papers in South Carolina, Indiana, Idaho and New York.