Initial jobless claims hit 2.8 million last week, bringing the total number of unemployment claims since mid-March to well above above 30 million. The U.S. Department of Labor will release on May 8 the preliminary unemployment rate for April, and economists are expecting the rate to rise from 4.4% in March to at least 15% in April, the highest it has been since the Great Depression. Every state’s labor force has been affected differently, and some state unemployment rates could exceed 20%.
As unemployment claims continue to surge by the millions with each passing week, 24/7 Wall St. has been compiling a state-by-state review of jobless claims. Job losses by state range from the tens of thousands to the millions over the seven weeks beginning on March 15, amounting to anywhere from 8.5% to 33% of each state’s total workforce. Over the most recent week of data, April 26 to May 2, initial jobless claims were anywhere from five to 47 times higher what they were in 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. Elected officials across the country have heeded advice from health experts and instituted a range of measures to facilitate social distancing, from shelter-in-place orders to closing nonessential businesses. Many of those states are beginning to partially reopen their economies, or are planning to do so soon. Here’s when every state plans to lift COVID-19 restrictions.
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 current economic downturn. These industries include leisure and hospitality, travel services, transportation and warehousing, and oil and gas extraction. These are the state economies most likely to be crippled by COVID-19.