EDITOR NOTE: With millions of Americans unemployed, it’s understandable that some states are experiencing higher levels than others. But which states are suffering more, and to what degree do they contribute to the overall US economy? You might be surprised, as three of them happen to be among the largest economic drivers in the US--all experiencing unemployment rates between 16% to 25%. To what extent will that take the “air” out of the recovery or balloon?
The number of jobs lost due to the coronavirus shutdown continue to mount, with the latest weekly total of Americans applying for unemployment benefits coming in at another 1.2 million.
The latest swath of applications brings the total amount of jobless claims to more than 54 million over the past four months, wiping out the 20 million jobs added over the last decade by a near three-to-one margin.
While some states have seen unemployment applications recede from record highs after the coronavirus pandemic roiled America’s employment picture, some have suffered stubbornly high job losses months into the recovery. Those have stacked up in some states to see unemployment rates shoot as high as 20%.
According to the Department of Labor’s latest report, which breaks out the insured unemployment rate (a ratio of people on unemployment benefits divided by a state’s labor force) through July 18, Nevada is currently suffering the worst employment picture with a nation-leading insured unemployment rate of nearly 25%. Hawaii, California, Louisiana, and New York round out the top five states, all suffering with unemployment rates that top 16%.
Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts and Michigan, with an insured unemployment rate of 13.8%, round out the top nine states that the Department of Labor include in their latest report.
Compared to pre-pandemic levels, those unemployment rates are notably higher than the worst states listed in the week ended February 22. Back then, Alaska topped the nation with a similar unemployment rate at just 2.9%. As high as the unemployment rates are now in the hardest hit states, they have still marginally improved from peaks seen months prior. Nevada, for example, has seen its unemployment rate improve 2 percentage points from 27% during the week ended May 9.
As a Yahoo Finance review of jobless claims data showed last week, some states are recovering more quickly than others, but all are still struggling with varying economic restrictions tied to controlling the spread of the coronavirus.
Originally posted on Yahoo! Finance