The Pulse

States Hit Hardest By Unemployment Claims

As the COVID-19 response continues to roll-out nationally, it’s impact on the employment market grows

New market research from WalletHub.com, a consumer credit advisory company.

With 2.1 million more unemployment claims filed this week despite all U.S. states starting to reopen, WalletHub today released updated rankings for the States Hit Most by Unemployment Claims.

To identify which states’ workforces have been hurt the most by COVID-19, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on increases in unemployment claims during the latest week for which we have data (May 18) and overall since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis (March 16).

We used this data to rank the most impacted states for both periods. 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. Missouri

2. Georgia

43. Arkansas

3. Virginia

44. Utah

4. Mississippi

45. West Virginia

5. Kentucky

46. Connecticut

6. Oklahoma

47. Montana

7. New Hampshire

48. Idaho

8. North Carolina

49. New Jersey

9. Louisiana

50. Rhode Island

10. District of Columbia

51. Vermont

 

To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit here

A Q&A with WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez on the impacts of COVID-19 on the U.S. unemployment status

Should we be optimistic about the impact that reopening states will have on the job market?
“From an economic standpoint, we should be optimistic about states reopening because it will be a huge benefit to the job market, if managed responsibly. Businesses that previously were closed for months will finally get some revenue again, allowing them to build up the resources to start rehiring. In order to make sure this reopening has the best possible impact on the job market, states should enforce social distancing measures at all places of business. While 30 percent of Americans would be comfortable shopping in person now without any protective measures, an additional 34 percent would be comfortable if everyone wore masks, according to WalletHub research.”

From an economic standpoint, we should be optimistic about states reopening because it will be a huge benefit to the job market, if managed responsibly...

Is it a good thing that many people are making more money while unemployed than they did while employed?
“Given the temporary nature of the increase in unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a good thing that many Americans will have a few months during which they will make more money while unemployed than they did while employed. Some benefits expire in July, while others expire in December, which lets unemployed Americans have a short period of extra financial security as they try to find new jobs in the struggling economy. In the long term, people naturally should not continue to make more while unemployed than they did while employed, as this will reduce the incentive to work and will lead to a lot more federal spending.”

How do red states and blue states compare when it comes to increases in unemployment?
“With an average rank of 25 among the most affected states, red states suffered a higher increase in unemployment during the coronavirus outbreak than blue states, which rank 27 on average. The lower the number, the higher the increase in initial unemployment claims that state received during the coronavirus pandemic.”

How has the unemployment rate in New York – the state with the most COVID-19 cases – been affected?
“New York has seen a 329% increase in initial unemployment claims from the beginning of 2020 to the week of May 18. This is better than the average increase of 591%.”