Adam McCann• Apr 16, 2020 • As the U.S. economy has slowed to a crawl due to COVID-19, countless businesses have shut their doors in accordance with the resulting social distancing policies. Consequently, many businesses have furloughed or laid off employees, and 22 million Americans have found themselves temporarily or permanently out of a job since the week of March 16.
While Americans have started to receive their government stimulus checks, those who are jobless will likely still struggle. However, not all states have experienced the same levels of unemployment due to the pandemic. To identify which states’ workforces have been hurt most by COVID-19, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on increases in unemployment claims. We used this data to rank the most impacted states in both the latest week for which we have data (April 6) and overall since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis (March 16). Read on for the results, additional commentary from a panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.
Increase in North Carolina Unemployment Due to Coronavirus (1=Worst, 25=Avg.):
- 4,419.46% Increase in Unemployment Claims (April 2020 vs April 2019)
- 137,934 the week of April 6, 2020 vs 3,052 the week of April 8, 2019
- 8th highest increase in the U.S.
- 3,831.98% Increase in the Number of Unemployment Claims (April 2020 vs January 2020)
- 137,934 the week of April 6, 2020 vs 3,508 the week of January 1, 2020
- 3rd highest increase in the U.S.
- 4,605.70% Increase in Unemployment Claims Since Pandemic Started
- 541,584 between March 16, 2020 and April 6, 2020 vs 11,759 between March 18, 2019 and April 8, 2019
- 7th highest increase in the U.S.
How do the job losses from coronavirus compare to those caused by the Great Recession?
“During the Great Recession, a grand total of 8.8 million Americans lost their jobs. The coronavirus pandemic has already claimed 22 million jobs,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “While there have been 22.7 million jobs created since the Great Recession, COVID-19 is unfortunately on track to wipe out all of the job gains by the end of this week, according to WalletHub projections.”
How do red states and blue states compare when it comes to increases in unemployment?
“With an average unemployment rank of 24, Red States suffered a higher increase of their unemployment during the coronavirus outbreak than Blue States, which rank 29 on average,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The lower the rank, the higher the increase in initial unemployment claims that state received during the coronavirus pandemic.”
The state with the current largest number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is New York. How has New York’s unemployment rate been affected?
“New York has seen a 783% increase in initial unemployment claims from the beginning of 2020 to the 15th week,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “This is better than the average increase of 1,709%.”
What can states do in order to minimize the rise in their unemployment rates?
“States should aggressively focus on helping the companies in the most need. The federal response will include sending checks to most citizens, even those whose income has not been affected by the coronavirus. States can use a more targeted approach to divert resources to the companies affected the most, thus having maximum impact for the money spent,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst.
States with the Biggest Increases in Unemployment Due to Coronavirus
|State||Most Affected Last Week||Most Affected Since Start of COVID-19 Crisis|
|District of Columbia||21||16|
Rank 1 = Most Affected.
|State||Increase in Unemployment Claims (2020 vs 2019)*||Increase in Unemployment Claims (April vs January 2020)**||Increase in Unemployment Claims (April vs Start of COVID-19 Crisis)***|
|District of Columbia||2263.72%||1959.04%||3419.32%|
*Refers to the increase in the number of unemployment insurance initial claims in the week of April 6, 2020 compared to the week of April 8, 2019.
**Refers to the increase in the number of unemployment insurance initial claims in the week of April 6, 2020 compared to the week of January 1, 2020.
***Refers to the increase in the number of unemployment insurance initial claims between the weeks of March 16, 2020 to April 6, 2020 compared to the weeks of March 18, 2019 to April 8, 2019.
Coronavirus Job Losses vs. Great Recession
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, St. Louis Federal Reserve.
Red vs. Blue States