The latest weekly jobless claims figures were released on May 28. For the week ending May 23, just under 2 million Americans filed to receive unemployment benefits. While this marks the first week in over two months that unemployment claims fell below 2 million, it is still a staggering figure on top of a long stream of devastating weeks for U.S. workers. After the last 10 combined weeks of jobless claims, the number of Americans filing for unemployment since the coronavirus crisis began in earnest in mid-March is now approaching 40 million, or about 25% of the U.S. labor force.
As unemployment claims have continued 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 10 weeks beginning on March 15, amounting to anywhere from 10% to over 40% of each state’s total labor force before the pandemic hit.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate reached 14.7% in April, a level not seen since the Great Depression. In a number of states, the April unemployment rate was much higher, with over one-fifth of Hawaii’s labor force and over one-quarter of Nevada’s labor force unemployed. These state rates will only worsen in May, as the jobless ranks continue to swell in every state.
The current economic downturn is largely attributable to efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. 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. Here are every state’s rules for staying at home and social distancing.
The places where unemployment rates are projected to be the highest in the coming months tend to be in states that rely on industries that are bearing the brunt of the current economic downturn. These industries include leisure and hospitality, travel services, transportation and warehousing, and oil and gas extraction. These industries also serve as the economic backbone for a number of cities across the country. Here is a look at the places a COVID-19 recession will likely hit hardest.
Click here to see every state’s unemployment since COVID-19 shut the economy down