Special Report

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

The latest weekly jobless claims figures were released on June 11. In the week ending June 6, yet another 1.5 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as the unprecedented period of massive layoffs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic extends to its 12th week. 

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 12 combined weeks of jobless claims, the number of Americans who have filed 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 12 weeks beginning on March 15, amounting to anywhere from 11% to nearly 50% of each state’s total labor force as measured before the pandemic hit. 

While state unemployment rates for May have not yet been released, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its estimate for the May national unemployment rate, which showed a surprising decline from 14.7% to 13.3%. The decline came with the news that 2.5 million jobs had been added in May after a loss of more than 20 million jobs in April. However, the Labor Department noted that a large share of fired workers had been misclassified as being employed when in fact they were furloughed, and the actual rate is roughly 3 percentage points higher.

Unemployment claims relative to the size of the workforce 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. Here is a look at the places a COVID-19 recession will likely hit hardest

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 have begun to partially reopen their economies. Here are every state’s rules for staying at home and social distancing.

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