Each week the Department of Labor releases its Unemployment Weekly Claims. The people included in this figure have asked the government for payments because they have been laid off from their jobs. These claims are done at the state level. Data are reported by state and nationwide.
Unemployment claims paint a partial picture of the labor market and national economy, often taken together with monthly ADP data on jobs and the monthly jobs figure issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. All three have shown a sharp recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic-driven recession. Unemployment has dropped to an extremely low 3.9%. Unemployment claims have dropped below 300,000 each week which is low based on historical trends.
WalletHub has released a report titled “States Whose Unemployment Claims Are Increasing the Most.” The figures cover the period that ended on January 3 compared to the week before. For reference, the numbers have also been compared to those a year ago, and those for the same period in 2019. This gives a reasonable picture of the effects of the pandemic. These yardsticks showed that:
Every state had unemployment claims last week that were higher than before the pandemic except for Georgia, Arkansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Alabama, Delaware, New York, Virginia, Maine, Maryland, Connecticut, and Oklahoma.
For the most recent week, the state with the largest increase in unemployment claims was Utah.
In general, Utah has had extraordinarily good jobs figures recently. Based on BLS jobless figures per state, Utah had the second-lowest at 2.1% in November. Two of its metros also had extremely low unemployment figures–Logan at 1.1% and Provo at 1.2%.
While the recent Utah weekly jobless claims were high, they are a snapshot in time which is largely misleading. That, among other reasons, is the reason that economists generally look at time periods that are much longer.
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