Eye-popping 3.3 million new unemployment claims: These states were hardest hit

Eye-popping 3.3 million new unemployment claims: These states were hardest hit
[Photo: John Minchillo/AP/Shutterstock]

Remember when, last week, the Trump administration asked states to stay hush-hush about how many people were applying for unemployment? Those numbers are now public: Nearly 3.3 million Americans filed new unemployment claims last week, meaning that more than 5 million Americans will soon be receiving unemployment benefits as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the economy. In graphics, the chart looks like this:

Many of those newly jobless applicants came from:

  • Pennsylvania, 378,908
  • Ohio, 187,784
  • Texas, 155,657
  • California, 186,809
  • New Jersey, 155,454
  • Massachusetts, 147,995
  • Washington, 133,478

States including Alabama, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Arkansas, Hawaii, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia remain less affected by COVID-19, with under 10,000 new applicants each. New York logged 80,334 new claims.

[Image: courtesy of U.S. Department of Labor]
The previous week, 281,000 Americans applied for new unemployment, a 33% jump, which at the time was considered notable. In U.S. Department of Labor-speak, the 3.3 million figure “marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.” (Unemployment figures are adjusted to account for predictable variations, such as holidays and school closures.)

The 3.3 million new claims shatter the previous record from 1982 by a factor of about four and is a third higher than Goldman Sachs’s estimate six days ago, which at the time was greeted with eyebrows in hairlines. The new claims will more than double the total number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits, which was at just over 2 million three weeks ago.

Significant business destruction has continued this week as many Americans received shelter-in-place orders, and analysts expect this week’s new jobless rate to be equally catastrophic. Approximately 17 million Americans were previously employed by the leisure and hospitality sectors.