The number of jobs lost due to the coronavirus shutdown continue to mount, with the latest weekly total of Americans applying for unemployment benefits topping 2 million, yet again.
The latest swath of applications brings the total amount of jobless claims to more than 38 million over the past nine weeks, nearly wiping out the 20 million jobs added over the last decade by a two-to-one margin.
But some states have been feeling the impact of job losses more than others. A Yahoo Finance review of jobless claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that Georgia and other states in the South have been particularly hard hit since the coronavirus pandemic brought the country’s economy to a grinding halt.
Comparing each state’s average weekly jobless claims totals over the past eight weeks to the week before shutdowns started occurring, reveals Georgia, Florida, and Kentucky to be the three states showing the largest percentage spike in people applying for unemployment benefits. Georgia in particular saw jobless claims average a nearly 5,000% spike versus the week ending March 14. Florida and Kentucky saw slightly less dramatic peaks, with claims surging about 4,000%.
Virginia and Louisiana rounded out the top five hardest hit states, each averaging a more than 3,200% spike in weekly average unemployment claims in the period observed.
Florida, which was one of only 12 states to report a rise in unemployment applications over its prior week, has reported problems with its unemployment portal due to unprecedented demand. The state was among the last in the nation to implement a stay-at-home order and thus, experienced a later spike in unemployment claims.
This week’s unemployment update from the Department of Labor also broke out insured unemployment rates by state since the coronavirus accelerated through May 2. Looking at the data through that lens, which compares people on unemployment divided by a state’s labor force, shows Nevada now has an insured unemployment rate above 23%. Michigan and Washington joined Nevada in topping the list with insured unemployment rates over 20%.
Largest unemployment rates by state*:
1. Nevada 23.5%
2. Michigan 22.6%
3. Washington 22.1%
4. Rhode Island 19.9%
5. New York 19.6%
6. Connecticut 19.3%
7. Puerto Rico 19.2%
8. Mississippi 18.8%
9. Vermont 18.8%
10. Georgia 18.5%
*insured UE rates thru May 2
— Zack Guzman (@zGuz) May 21, 2020
Economists expect more unemployment claims in weeks to come despite states’ lockdown orders being lifted.
Zack Guzman is the host of YFi PM as well as a senior writer and on-air reporter covering entrepreneurship, cannabis, startups, and breaking news at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @zGuz.
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