In the week ending May 15, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial employment claims was 471,000, an increase of 25,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 446,000, the U.S. Department of Labor announced on May 20. The four-week moving average was 453,500, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 450,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.6 percent for the week ending May 8, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate of 3.6 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending May 8 was 4,625,000, a decrease of 40,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 4,665,000. The four-week moving average was 4,642,500, a decrease of 9,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 4,652,000.

The fiscal year-to-date average of seasonally adjusted weekly insured unemployment, which corresponds to the appropriated AWIU trigger, was 5.146 million. 

Unadjusted data: The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 407,940 in the week ending May 15, a decrease of 1,819 from the previous week. There were 540,925 initial claims in the comparable week in 2009.

The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.5 percent during the week ending May 8, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming unemployment insurance benefits in state programs totaled 4,439,549, a decrease of 113,074 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 4.6 percent and the volume was 6,203,661.

Extended benefits were available in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin during the week ending May 1.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits by former federal civilian employees totaled 1,318 in the week ending May 8, an increase of 18 from the prior week. There were 2,489 initial claims by newly discharged veterans, an increase of 176 from the preceding week.

There were 17,472 former federal civilian employees claiming unemployment insurance benefits for the week ending May 1, a decrease of 1,722 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 35,054, a decrease of 1,737 from the prior week.

States reported 5,101,246 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending May 1, a decrease of 94,788 from the prior week. There were 2,268,367 claimants in the comparable week in 2009. EUC weekly claims include first-, second-, third- and fourth-tier activity.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending May 1 were in Alaska (6.4 percent), Puerto Rico (6.0), Oregon (5.6), Nevada (5.0), California (4.9), Pennsylvania (4.6), Wisconsin (4.6), Montana (4.5), Idaho (4.4), North Carolina (4.4) and Washington (4.4).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending May 8 were in California (+8,351), Michigan (+3,175), New Jersey (+2,362), Georgia (+2,333) and Puerto Rico (+1,362), while the largest decreases were in New York (-3,144), Kentucky (-2,193), Connecticut (-1,512), Missouri (-1,031) and New Hampshire (-607).