Updated state unemployment numbers remain astonishingly high: Six states saw record-high levels of initial unemployment claims last week

by nyljaouadi1
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This morning, the Department of Labor released the latest initial unemployment insurance (UI) claims data, showing that another five million people (not seasonally adjusted) filed for UI last week. In the last four weeks, more than 20 million workers—whose economic security has been upended by the coronavirus crisis and inadequate policy responses—filed for UI.

Last week, Colorado, New York, South Carolina, Connecticut, Mississippi, and West Virginia saw their highest level of initial UI claim filings ever. These six states, along with Florida, Missouri, and North Carolina, saw increases in initial filings compared with the prior week.

Most states had fewer initial UI claims last week than the week prior, but the number of UI claims remained astonishingly high. California and Michigan—the two states with the largest decline since the week before—still had 661,000 and 219,000 claims filed last week, respectively—the third highest week on record for both.

Figure A compares UI claims filed last week with filings in the pre-virus period, showing once again that Southern states are faring particularly poorly. Seven of the 10 states that had the highest percent change last week relative to the pre-virus period are Southern: Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Louisiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Alabama.

Initial unemployment insurance claims filed during the week ending April 11, by state

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 five weeks ending April 11
Alabama 91,079 -14.7% -15,660 4221% 88,971 291,513
Alaska 12,752 -12.6% -1,838 1410% 11,908 50,083
Arizona 97,784 -26.2% -34,644 2878% 94,501 352,344
Arkansas 34,635 -44.2% -27,451 2241% 33,156 135,134
California 660,966 -28.1% -257,848 1517% 620,094 2,882,044
Colorado 105,073 126.8% 58,747 5418% 103,169 235,332
Connecticut 33,962 1.5% 498 1216% 31,381 129,193
Delaware 13,272 -29.6% -5,579 2224% 12,701 62,508
Washington D.C. 9,904 -35.4% -5,425 2079% 9,450 56,777
Florida 181,293 6.7% 11,408 3478% 176,226 660,438
Georgia 317,526 -18.6% -72,606 5831% 312,173 859,063
Hawaii 34,693 -34.7% -18,408 2955% 33,557 146,794
Idaho 17,817 -42.3% -13,087 1518% 16,716 96,279
Illinois 141,049 -29.8% -59,992 1402% 131,658 645,495
Indiana 118,184 -6.9% -8,826 4611% 115,676 446,719
Iowa 46,356 -27.8% -17,838 1887% 44,023 209,697
Kansas 30,769 -37.6% -18,537 1808% 29,156 159,723
Kentucky 115,763 -1.5% -1,812 4527% 113,261 398,295
Louisiana 80,045 -20.4% -20,576 4648% 78,359 352,759
Maine 13,273 -57.1% -17,637 1610% 12,497 90,046
Maryland 60,823 -44.4% -48,666 2103% 58,063 302,474
Massachusetts 103,040 -26.2% -36,607 1601% 96,982 580,011
Michigan 219,320 -43.6% -169,234 3870% 213,796 1,045,553
Minnesota 89,634 -18.7% -20,626 2447% 86,115 428,772
Mississippi 46,160 0.7% 308 5477% 45,332 130,693
Missouri 95,785 4.7% 4,327 3053% 92,747 337,796
Montana 13,437 -36.7% -7,807 1620% 12,656 71,610
Nebraska 16,391 -39.4% -10,663 3125% 15,883 84,665
Nevada 60,180 -24.1% -19,105 2509% 57,873 310,061
New Hampshire 23,936 -38.9% -15,266 4142% 23,372 124,537
New Jersey 140,600 -34.6% -74,236 1619% 132,421 686,971
New Mexico 19,494 -25.4% -6,638 2652% 18,786 92,449
New York 395,949 15.0% 51,498 2048% 377,519 1,201,266
North Carolina 137,934 0.4% 512 5263% 135,362 545,117
North Dakota 10,378 -31.4% -4,747 2374% 9,959 43,398
Ohio 157,218 -30.5% -68,973 2054% 149,918 861,052
Oklahoma 48,977 -19.1% -11,557 3076% 47,435 181,017
Oregon 50,930 -18.9% -11,858 1182% 46,958 195,539
Pennsylvania 238,357 -14.1% -39,283 1788% 225,736 1,313,564
Rhode Island 22,805 -19.3% -5,438 1931% 21,682 115,803
South Carolina 87,686 1.3% 1,113 4409% 85,742 274,653
South Dakota 6,152 -24.4% -1,986 3276% 5,970 23,042
Tennessee 74,772 -33.3% -37,414 3620% 72,762 320,237
Texas 273,567 -13.2% -41,600 2009% 260,596 1,036,521
Utah 24,171 -26.8% -8,869 2314% 23,170 106,738
Vermont 9,478 -42.5% -6,996 1440% 8,863 45,028
Virginia 106,723 -27.6% -40,646 3940% 104,082 415,572
Washington 150,516 -12.1% -20,736 2379% 144,446 648,766
West Virginia 14,595 0.7% 101 1192% 13,465 48,013
Wisconsin 69,884 -33.3% -34,939 1136% 64,230 341,862
Wyoming 4,904 -25.0% -1,639 885% 4,406 22,013

Notes: Initial claims for the week ending April 11 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.

Table 1 shows the data displayed in the map as well as the change in UI claims over the last five weeks relative to the same five-week period a year ago.

These UI claims represent a devastating loss of income and security for workers and their families and also have exacerbated existing inequalities. Women have been overrepresented in the number of job losses so far. The leisure and hospitality sector, which has laid off the most workers, disproportionately employs immigrants and people of color.

The staggering number of claims has also placed an enormous amount of strain on the agencies tasked with administering these benefits. Federal funding is needed to support these agencies and states must leverage existing laws to get aid to workers quickly.

For 9.2 million workers in the last four weeks, losing their job meant also losing their employer-provided health insurance. The federal government should expand Medicare and Medicaid to these workers so that they are able to seek care during the pandemic, should they need it. The United States could also follow the lead of other countries, such as Denmark and the Netherlands, by undertaking other transformative measures to guarantee paychecks to all workers. At a minimum, policymakers must address gaps in the existing coronavirus relief and recovery measures, including insufficient aid to state and local governments, in a fourth package.

Initial unemployment insurance claims filed during the week ending April 11, by state

State Initial claims filed Percent change from pre-virus period Level change from pre-virus period Level change from a year ago Sum of initial claims for the five weeks ending April 11 Level change from same five-week period one year ago Percent change from same five-week period one year ago
Alabama 91,079 4221% 88,971 88,698 291,513 279,622 2452%
Alaska 12,752 1410% 11,908 11,760 50,083 45,508 1095%
Arizona 97,784 2878% 94,501 91,936 352,344 330,937 1646%
Arkansas 34,635 2241% 33,156 33,184 135,134 126,509 1567%
California 660,966 1517% 620,094 621,537 2,882,044 2,686,900 1477%
Colorado 105,073 5418% 103,169 103,036 235,332 226,853 2775%
Connecticut 33,962 1216% 31,381 30,508 129,193 116,119 988%
Delaware 13,272 2224% 12,701 12,790 62,508 60,211 2721%
District of Columbia 9,904 2079% 9,450 9,485 56,777 54,722 2763%
Florida 181,293 3478% 176,226 174,948 660,438 631,233 2261%
Georgia 317,526 5831% 312,173 312,278 859,063 836,433 3796%
Hawaii 34,693 2955% 33,557 33,565 146,794 140,922 2500%
Idaho 17,817 1518% 16,716 16,869 96,279 91,076 1850%
Illinois 141,049 1402% 131,658 133,321 645,495 603,741 1546%
Indiana 118,184 4611% 115,676 115,814 446,719 435,121 3852%
Iowa 46,356 1887% 44,023 44,520 209,697 199,579 2073%
Kansas 30,769 1808% 29,156 29,471 159,723 152,659 2261%
Kentucky 115,763 4527% 113,261 113,655 398,295 387,183 3584%
Louisiana 80,045 4648% 78,359 78,158 352,759 344,270 4155%
Maine 13,273 1610% 12,497 12,562 90,046 86,740 2724%
Maryland 60,823 2103% 58,063 58,043 302,474 289,300 2296%
Massachusetts 103,040 1601% 96,982 98,575 580,011 558,884 2745%
Michigan 219,320 3870% 213,796 213,741 1,045,553 1,018,512 3867%
Minnesota 89,634 2447% 86,115 86,830 428,772 413,222 2757%
Mississippi 46,160 5477% 45,332 45,067 130,693 125,730 2633%
Missouri 95,785 3053% 92,747 92,961 337,796 322,577 2220%
Montana 13,437 1620% 12,656 12,622 71,610 67,852 1906%
Nebraska 16,391 3125% 15,883 15,825 84,665 81,329 2538%
Nevada 60,180 2509% 57,873 57,984 310,061 299,441 2920%
New Hampshire 23,936 4142% 23,372 23,455 124,537 122,092 5094%
New Jersey 140,600 1619% 132,421 132,959 686,971 649,391 1828%
New Mexico 19,494 2652% 18,786 18,679 92,449 88,415 2292%
New York 395,949 2048% 377,519 383,818 1,201,266 1,137,924 1896%
North Carolina 137,934 5263% 135,362 134,882 545,117 530,690 3778%
North Dakota 10,378 2374% 9,959 10,106 43,398 42,089 3315%
Ohio 157,218 2054% 149,918 151,983 861,052 831,179 2882%
Oklahoma 48,977 3076% 47,435 47,153 181,017 171,222 1848%
Oregon 50,930 1182% 46,958 46,578 195,539 174,992 952%
Pennsylvania 238,357 1788% 225,736 226,862 1,313,564 1,255,447 2260%
Rhode Island 22,805 1931% 21,682 22,054 115,803 112,067 3100%
South Carolina 87,686 4409% 85,742 85,648 274,653 264,888 2813%
South Dakota 6,152 3276% 5,970 6,071 23,042 22,355 3354%
Tennessee 74,772 3620% 72,762 72,608 320,237 306,655 2358%
Texas 273,567 2009% 260,596 259,699 1,036,521 971,271 1589%
Utah 24,171 2314% 23,170 22,807 106,738 101,706 2121%
Vermont 9,478 1440% 8,863 8,780 45,028 42,274 1635%
Virginia 106,723 3940% 104,082 104,463 415,572 404,732 3834%
Washington 150,516 2379% 144,446 143,577 648,766 618,866 2170%
West Virginia 14,595 1192% 13,465 13,637 48,013 44,150 1243%
Wisconsin 69,884 1136% 64,230 65,200 341,862 314,704 1259%
Wyoming 4,904 885% 4,406 4,307 22,013 20,203 1216%

Notes: Initial claims for the week ending April 11 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.





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