The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to shut their doors. Some companies have allowed their employees to work from home, but that’s not possible in every industry. The novel coronavirus is affecting almost everyone’s livelihood across the country. Here we take a look at the top ten states that recorded the biggest increase in unemployment claims due to COVID-19. Some experts predict the unemployment rate could hit as high as 32% in the coming months.
According to the official figures, more than 6.65 million people filed for unemployment claims last week. Notably, 3.3 million people had claimed unemployment benefits the previous week. It means about 10 million have found themselves temporarily or permanently out of jobs in the last couple of weeks.
That’s the official figure. The actual numbers could be significantly higher because a large number of people still haven’t filed for benefits because of crashing websites, jammed phone lines, and long lines at unemployment offices. They could benefit from President Trump’s $2 trillion stimulus package.
William Rodgers of Rutgers University told The Guardian that the US unemployment rate has jumped from 3.5% in February to 17% towards the end of March. Much of the country is in lockdown. Hotels, restaurants, construction, manufacturing, retail stores and other industries have suffered badly. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis estimates that the unemployment rate could skyrocket to 32% in the worst case scenario. The US hasn’t seen unemployment rates that high since the Great Depression nearly a century ago.
Ranked: States with the highest increase in unemployment claims
Personal finance website WalletHub has compared the rise in unemployment claims in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the week of March 23 in 2019 and 2020. WalletHub also compared the growth in unemployment claims from January to March 2020. These ten states recorded the highest increase in unemployment claims.
10- New Mexico
New Mexico ranked 10th with a 3291.34% increase in unemployment claims between March 2019 and 2020. The unemployment rate increased 3427.16% from January to March this year. New Mexico relies heavily on oil exploration, retail trade, and mineral extraction. All of these sectors have witnessed job losses due to falling oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.
9- District of Columbia
The District of Columbia recorded a 3822.96% increase in unemployment claims between March 2019 and March 2020. The growth between January and March 2020 was a staggering 2991.06%.
Kentucky reported an increase of 5099.54% in unemployment claims between March 2019 and 2020. The increase was slightly less dramatic at 2078.28% between January and March this year, according to WalletHub.
WalletHub data shows that Michigan witnessed a 6467.15% jump in unemployment claims in March 2020 compared to the same period last year. The increase was 2255.46% from January to March this year. The state is a hub for automobile and aerospace manufacturing.
Virginia’s unemployment rate was only 2.6% in November 2019 and 2.8% at the end of 2019. Since January 2020, the unemployment claims have shot up 3479.17%. According to WalletHub, the unemployment claims increased a staggering 5333.52% from March 2019 to March 2020.
The economy of Florida depends heavily on tourism, which has suffered the most due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hotels, restaurants, cultural centers, and other places have shut their doors. The unemployment claims in Florida increased 4179.79% from March 2019 to March 2020. Between January and March this year, the claims went up 4815.55%.
4- New Hampshire
New Hampshire has numerous recreational attractions including skiing, hiking, mountaineering, snowmobiling, and other winter sports. The coronavirus pandemic has brought recreational activities to a halt. Unemployment claims in New Hampshire increased 6240.42% in March 2020 compared to the same period last year. Between January and March of 2020, the claims went up 3878.84%.
Indiana has recorded the third biggest jump in unemployment claims, according to WalletHub. The state’s economy relies heavily on manufacturing. Indiana witnessed an eye-popping 7093.46% increase in unemployment claims in March 2020 compared to the same period last year. The unemployment claims surged 3198.22% from January to March 2020.
2- North Carolina
The urban centers in North Carolina were enjoying steady jobs growth and low unemployment until the coronavirus turned things upside down. North Carolina registered a 6064.54% increase in unemployment claims in March 2020 compared to March 2019. The increase between January and March this year was also alarming at 4771.18%.
Louisiana has recorded the biggest jump – a staggering 5772.15% from March 2019 to March 2020, and 5800.48% from January to March 2020 – in unemployment claims due to the coronavirus pandemic. William Rodgers of Rutgers University expects Louisiana’s unemployment rate to skyrocket from 5.3% to 44.9% in the weeks ahead.