Special Report

Every State's Unemployment Claims Since COVID-19 Shut the Economy Down

Samuel Stebbins

Mid-March marked a turning point in the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. President Donald Trump officially declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020. Two days later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Americans to avoid gatherings of 50 people. Over the next three weeks, restrictions tightened, the numbers of infections and deaths from the disease soared, and more than 15 million Americans lost their jobs. 

In the lead up to the historic surge in jobless claims, the United States appeared to be in a period of historic prosperity. As recently as February, the unemployment rate stood at a multi-decade low of 3.5%. Now, according to estimates released by Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, the unemployment rate may hit nearly 16% by July — higher than at any point since the Great Depression. 

As unemployment claims spike with each passing week, 24/7 Wall St. compiled a state-by-state review of jobless claims. Nearly every state has shed tens or hundreds of thousands of jobs over the three weeks beginning on March 15 — equal to anywhere from 4% to 17% of each state’s total labor force. Over the most recent week of data, March 29 to April 4, unemployment claims were anywhere from 13 to 84 times higher than they were the same week last year, depending on the state. 

The current economic downturn is largely attributable to efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus as millions of Americans are urged or ordered to stay home, and nonessential businesses have shuttered across the country. Here is a look at iconic businesses that have closed because of coronavirus

The states where unemployment rates are projected to be the highest in the coming months tend to be those that rely on industries that will likely bear the brunt of the economic downturn. These industries include leisure and hospitality, travel services, transportation and warehousing, and oil and gas extraction. Here is an in-depth look at the U.S. industries being devastated by the coronavirus.

Click here to see every state’s unemployment claims since COVID-19 shut the economy down:

Click here to see our methodology: