Updated state unemployment numbers: More than a quarter of the workforce has filed for unemployment in six states

by nyljaouadi1
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Another 3.5 million U.S. workers filed for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits last week, according to the Department of Labor’s most recent data released this morning (not seasonally adjusted). In the past six weeks, nearly 28 million, or one in six, workers applied for UI benefits across the country.

Despite most states seeing a decline in UI claims filed relative to last week, eight states continued to see increases in UI claims. Last week, Washington saw the largest percent increase in claims (74.6%) compared with the prior week, followed by Oregon (25.6%) and Nevada (14.0%).

Figure A and Table 1 allow you to compare state UI claims filed last week with the prior week and the pre-virus period, in both level and percent terms. It also shows the cumulative number of unemployment claims since March 7 and that number as a share of each state’s labor force.

New and cumulative jobless claims by state: Unemployment insurance (UI) claims filed during the week ending April 25, change in claims , and total claims as share of state labor force

State Initial claims filed % change from the prior week Level change from the prior week % change from pre-virus period Level change from pre-virus period Sum of initial claims for the seven weeks ending April 25 Sum of initial claims as a share of labor force
Alabama 64,170 -3.4% -2,262 2,944% 62,062 408,551 18.2%
Alaska 11,187 -8.3% -1,014 1,225% 10,343 72,726 21.1%
Arizona 52,098 -28.1% -20,359 1,487% 48,815 477,646 13.2%
Arkansas 16,745 -34.1% -8,659 1,032% 15,266 178,277 13.0%
California 328,042 -37.9% -200,318 703% 287,170 3,732,952 19.1%
Colorado 38,367 -43.3% -29,272 1,915% 36,463 340,837 10.7%
Connecticut 33,037 -67.9% -69,771 1,180% 30,456 265,126 13.7%
Delaware 7,754 -17.9% -1,692 1,258% 7,183 79,694 16.3%
Washington D.C. 8,158 -5.6% -481 1,695% 7,704 73,644 17.8%
Florida 432,465 -14.6% -74,205 8,435% 427,398 1,598,699 15.3%
Georgia 264,818 7.2% 17,815 4,847% 259,465 1,372,939 26.6%
Hawaii 22,615 -15.0% -3,976 1,891% 21,479 196,024 29.3%
Idaho 8,268 -36.5% -4,755 651% 7,167 118,284 13.3%
Illinois 81,245 -21.1% -21,691 765% 71,854 829,787 13.0%
Indiana 57,397 -21.1% -15,359 2,188% 54,889 572,443 16.9%
Iowa 28,827 7.2% 1,926 1,136% 26,494 262,958 15.0%
Kansas 28,054 -8.3% -2,542 1,639% 26,441 217,477 14.5%
Kentucky 90,824 -12.7% -13,157 3,530% 88,322 593,614 28.5%
Louisiana 66,167 -28.0% -25,756 3,824% 64,481 510,457 24.2%
Maine 7,478 -36.5% -4,291 864% 6,702 109,508 15.8%
Maryland 36,471 -24.8% -12,024 1,221% 33,711 389,521 11.9%
Massachusetts 70,714 -12.7% -10,255 1,067% 64,656 732,467 19.1%
Michigan 81,312 -40.5% -55,395 1,372% 75,788 1,266,459 25.6%
Minnesota 53,561 -28.4% -21,268 1,422% 50,042 560,661 18.0%
Mississippi 35,843 -2.9% -1,070 4,230% 35,015 203,037 15.9%
Missouri 52,403 -12.1% -7,199 1,625% 49,365 456,142 14.7%
Montana 6,619 -40.8% -4,557 747% 5,838 90,243 16.8%
Nebraska 8,197 -32.9% -4,025 1,513% 7,689 104,972 10.1%
Nevada 45,043 14.0% 5,547 1,852% 42,736 393,061 25.2%
New Hampshire 14,347 -29.7% -6,067 2,443% 13,783 160,635 20.6%
New Jersey 71,017 -49.3% -69,122 768% 62,838 898,947 19.7%
New Mexico 13,712 0.7% 91 1,836% 13,004 119,331 12.4%
New York 218,912 6.7% 13,728 1,088% 200,482 1,624,114 17.0%
North Carolina 97,232 -8.5% -9,034 3,680% 94,660 750,836 14.7%
North Dakota 6,996 -13.3% -1,069 1,568% 6,577 57,583 14.2%
Ohio 90,760 -17.4% -19,070 1,143% 83,460 1,063,741 18.2%
Oklahoma 42,577 -8.8% -4,119 2,661% 41,035 275,794 15.0%
Oregon 46,722 25.6% 9,513 1,076% 42,750 283,121 13.4%
Pennsylvania 131,282 -32.5% -63,312 940% 118,661 1,635,951 24.9%
Rhode Island 13,138 -27.3% -4,940 1,070% 12,015 146,723 26.3%
South Carolina 65,159 -12.4% -9,203 3,251% 63,215 415,635 17.4%
South Dakota 5,389 1.8% 94 2,857% 5,207 33,933 7.3%
Tennessee 43,792 -34.9% -23,434 2,078% 41,782 428,370 12.7%
Texas 254,199 -9.5% -26,562 1,860% 241,228 1,572,171 11.1%
Utah 11,830 -39.8% -7,819 1,082% 10,829 138,561 8.5%
Vermont 4,971 -24.7% -1,627 708% 4,356 56,781 16.7%
Virginia 74,043 -10.5% -8,686 2,703% 71,402 570,240 12.8%
Washington 145,757 74.6% 62,282 2,301% 139,687 871,937 22.0%
West Virginia 29,576 -36.7% -17,179 2,517% 28,446 124,693 15.5%
Wisconsin 49,910 -10.7% -5,973 783% 44,256 447,771 14.4%
Wyoming 2,886 -34.1% -1,495 480% 2,388 30,170 10.3%

Notes: Initial claims for the week ending April 25 reflect advance state claims, not seasonally adjusted. For comparisons with the “pre-virus period,” we use a four-week average of initial claims for the weeks ending February 15–March 7, 2020. For comparisons to the size of the labor force, we use February 2020 levels.

Every state, especially many in the South, is continuing to struggle relative to the pre-virus period. Last week, Florida continued to see the largest percent increase in claims (8,435%) of any state compared with the pre-virus period. Nine of the 10 states that had the highest percent change in initial UI claims relative to the pre-virus period are in the South: Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, Kentucky, South Carolina, Alabama, and Virginia. Florida residents also filed the most UI claims last week followed by California, Georgia, and Texas.

This week, we added an additional measure of job-loss intensity in each state: the sum of initial claims since we started seeing the economic effects of coronavirus (the seven weeks ending April 25) as a share of each state’s labor force in February. In six states, more than a quarter of the workforce filed an initial claim during those weeks: Hawaii (29.9%), Kentucky (28.5%), Georgia (26.6%), Rhode Island (26.3%), Michigan (25.6%), and Nevada (25.2%). Even in the state with the lowest share, South Dakota, 7.3% of the labor force filed for unemployment insurance.

As devastating as these numbers are, the high amount of UI claims filings understates the true extent of joblessness. Using new survey data, we estimate that millions of people are jobless but unable to file an UI claim because they could not get through our overburdened unemployment system. A recent report by Michele Evermore of the National Employment Law Project (NELP) and a New York Times article this morning outline how some states—including Florida—have deliberately built their UI systems to discourage applicants and fail workers. This underscores the importance of investing in government services that we may all need at some point in our lives when we are most in need of support.

It is important to remember that mass unemployment as a result of the coronavirus did not have to happen—in fact, policymakers have twice missed the chance to avert widespread job loss. To avoid more layoffs, the United States could still follow the lead of other countries, such as Denmark and the Netherlands, by undertaking transformative measures to guarantee paychecks to all workers.

Additionally, policymakers must enact and enforce measures to keep workers safe, and extend stay-at-home orders until the coronavirus curve has flattened. At the same time, they must also address gaps in existing coronavirus relief and recovery measures, including insufficient aid to state and local governments.

New and cumulative jobless claims by state: Unemployment insurance (UI) claims filed during the week ending April 25, change in claims , and total claims as share of state labor force

State Initial claims filed Percent change from the prior week Level change from the prior week Percent change from pre-virus period Level change from pre-virus period Sum of initial claims for the seven weeks ending April 25 Sum of initial claims as a share of labor force
Alabama 64,170 -3.4% -2,262 2,944% 62,062 408,551 18.2%
Alaska 11,187 -8.3% -1,014 1,225% 10,343 72,726 21.1%
Arizona 52,098 -28.1% -20,359 1,487% 48,815 477,646 13.2%
Arkansas 16,745 -34.1% -8,659 1,032% 15,266 178,277 13.0%
California 328,042 -37.9% -200,318 703% 287,170 3,732,952 19.1%
Colorado 38,367 -43.3% -29,272 1,915% 36,463 340,837 10.7%
Connecticut 33,037 -67.9% -69,771 1,180% 30,456 265,126 13.7%
Delaware 7,754 -17.9% -1,692 1,258% 7,183 79,694 16.3%
District of Columbia 8,158 -5.6% -481 1,695% 7,704 73,644 17.8%
Florida 432,465 -14.6% -74,205 8,435% 427,398 1,598,699 15.3%
Georgia 264,818 7.2% 17,815 4,847% 259,465 1,372,939 26.6%
Hawaii 22,615 -15.0% -3,976 1,891% 21,479 196,024 29.3%
Idaho 8,268 -36.5% -4,755 651% 7,167 118,284 13.3%
Illinois 81,245 -21.1% -21,691 765% 71,854 829,787 13.0%
Indiana 57,397 -21.1% -15,359 2,188% 54,889 572,443 16.9%
Iowa 28,827 7.2% 1,926 1,136% 26,494 262,958 15.0%
Kansas 28,054 -8.3% -2,542 1,639% 26,441 217,477 14.5%
Kentucky 90,824 -12.7% -13,157 3,530% 88,322 593,614 28.5%
Louisiana 66,167 -28.0% -25,756 3,824% 64,481 510,457 24.2%
Maine 7,478 -36.5% -4,291 864% 6,702 109,508 15.8%
Maryland 36,471 -24.8% -12,024 1,221% 33,711 389,521 11.9%
Massachusetts 70,714 -12.7% -10,255 1,067% 64,656 732,467 19.1%
Michigan 81,312 -40.5% -55,395 1,372% 75,788 1,266,459 25.6%
Minnesota 53,561 -28.4% -21,268 1,422% 50,042 560,661 18.0%
Mississippi 35,843 -2.9% -1,070 4,230% 35,015 203,037 15.9%
Missouri 52,403 -12.1% -7,199 1,625% 49,365 456,142 14.7%
Montana 6,619 -40.8% -4,557 747% 5,838 90,243 16.8%
Nebraska 8,197 -32.9% -4,025 1,513% 7,689 104,972 10.1%
Nevada 45,043 14.0% 5,547 1,852% 42,736 393,061 25.2%
New Hampshire 14,347 -29.7% -6,067 2,443% 13,783 160,635 20.6%
New Jersey 71,017 -49.3% -69,122 768% 62,838 898,947 19.7%
New Mexico 13,712 0.7% 91 1,836% 13,004 119,331 12.4%
New York 218,912 6.7% 13,728 1,088% 200,482 1,624,114 17.0%
North Carolina 97,232 -8.5% -9,034 3,680% 94,660 750,836 14.7%
North Dakota 6,996 -13.3% -1,069 1,568% 6,577 57,583 14.2%
Ohio 90,760 -17.4% -19,070 1,143% 83,460 1,063,741 18.2%
Oklahoma 42,577 -8.8% -4,119 2,661% 41,035 275,794 15.0%
Oregon 46,722 25.6% 9,513 1,076% 42,750 283,121 13.4%
Pennsylvania 131,282 -32.5% -63,312 940% 118,661 1,635,951 24.9%
Rhode Island 13,138 -27.3% -4,940 1,070% 12,015 146,723 26.3%
South Carolina 65,159 -12.4% -9,203 3,251% 63,215 415,635 17.4%
South Dakota 5,389 1.8% 94 2,857% 5,207 33,933 7.3%
Tennessee 43,792 -34.9% -23,434 2,078% 41,782 428,370 12.7%
Texas 254,199 -9.5% -26,562 1,860% 241,228 1,572,171 11.1%
Utah 11,830 -39.8% -7,819 1,082% 10,829 138,561 8.5%
Vermont 4,971 -24.7% -1,627 708% 4,356 56,781 16.7%
Virginia 74,043 -10.5% -8,686 2,703% 71,402 570,240 12.8%
Washington 145,757 74.6% 62,282 2,301% 139,687 871,937 22.0%
West Virginia 29,576 -36.7% -17,179 2,517% 28,446 124,693 15.5%
Wisconsin 49,910 -10.7% -5,973 783% 44,256 447,771 14.4%
Wyoming 2,886 -34.1% -1,495 480% 2,388 30,170 10.3%

Notes: Initial claims for the week ending April 25 reflect advance state claims, not seasonally adjusted. For comparisons to the “pre-virus period,” we use a four-week average of initial claims for the weeks ending February 15–March 7, 2020. For comparisons to the size of the labor force, we use February 2020 levels.





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