The latest weekly jobless claims figures were released on June 4, and the unprecedented period of massive layoffs resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak continues. For the week ending May 23, 1.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. While the number of new claims has fallen in recent weeks, the figures remain staggeringly high. For reference, during the Great Recession in 2009, weekly seasonally-adjusted unemployment claims peaked at 660,000. After the last 11 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 11 weeks beginning on March 15, amounting to anywhere from 10% to over 45% of each state’s total labor force as measured 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 20% of Hawaii’s labor force and over 25% in Nevada. These state rates will only worsen in May, as the jobless ranks have continued 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. Most of those states are beginning to partially reopen their economies. Here are every state’s rules for staying at home and social distancing.
Unemployment rates tend to be higher in states whose economies 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 of a number of cities across the country. Here is a look at the places a COVID-19 recession will likely hit hardest.