The Pulse

State Unemployment Increases Continue To Trend Upward

Still, states begin to selectively reopen

New research from the consumer financial website wallet Reprinted with permission. Visit

The U.S. unemployment rate is still on an upward trend, with roughly 30.3 million Americans now having lost their jobs since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, despite the fact that some states have already begun to selectively reopen businesses. Today, WalletHub released updated rankings for the States with the Biggest Increases in Unemployment Due to the Coronavirus as a follow-up to our report on the Cities with the Biggest Growth in Unemployment Due to COVID-19, along with accompanying videos.

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 20) and overall since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis (March 16). Below, you can see highlights from the report, along with a WalletHub Q&A. To see the states most impacted since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.

Most Affected States Last Week

Least Affected States Last Week

1. Florida

42. Pennsylvania

2. Georgia

43. Maine

3. Kentucky

44. Delaware

4. Louisiana

45. Wyoming

5. North Carolina

46. Wisconsin

6. South Dakota

47. Vermont

7. Virginia

48. Idaho

8. West Virginia

49. Montana

9. Mississippi

50. Connecticut

10. Alabama

51. New Jersey



WalletHub Q&A: A conversation with Jill Gonzalez


In which industries can we expect the unemployment rate to decline first once the COVID-19 pandemic ends?

“We can expect the unemployment rate to decline first in essential industries that were least affected by the coronavirus pandemic, such as transportation and utilities, which only experienced an unemployment rate increase of 1.4% since the beginning of the crisis. Businesses in sectors with a much less consistent cash flow during the crisis, such as travel, tourism and recreation, will take a lot longer for their unemployment rates to go down.”

How do red states and blue states compare when it comes to increases in unemployment?

“With an average rank of 23 among the most affected states, red states suffered a higher increase in unemployment during the coronavirus outbreak than blue states, which rank 31 on average. The lower the number, 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 388% increase in initial unemployment claims from the beginning of 2020 to the week of April 20. This is better than the average increase of 1,253%.”

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.