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Devastating unemployment maps show which areas are hardest hit by COVID-19 shutdowns

Devastating unemployment maps show which areas are hardest hit by COVID-19 shutdowns
[Screenshot: Esri]

Shelter-in-place orders and shuttered businesses across the country have contributed to a historic spike in national unemployment, and despite limited steps at reopening local economies, there may be little relief in the near future.

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Spatial analytics company Esri is mapping trends in U.S. joblessness with a new interactive map that shows which areas are being hardest hit. Using county-level data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the map updates every month. And it’s color coded to indicate which counties have seen increases in unemployment (orange) and which have seen decreases in unemployment (blue).

A screenshot of the map below shows changes from January to February, before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and before states began issuing shutdown orders. You can see a lot of blue in this map, indicating just how many areas were enjoying growth in their jobs figures only a few short weeks before the entire world was turned upside down.

Change in unemployment from January to February 2020 [Esri]
Now look below at a screenshot of the same map one month later, showing changes in employment from February to March. Here all you can see is an ocean of orange—dramatic increases in unemployment happening almost everywhere.

Change in unemployment from February to March [Esri]
The live version of Esri’s map is interactive, so you can zoom in and look at data for each county. Clicking the county will bring up an information window with specific employment figures.

As of this morning, more than 30 million Americans have filed new jobless claims since the start of the pandemic, and that number doesn’t take into account the countless workers who have been unable to file claims due to glitchy websites and overwhelmed state labor agencies.

You can check out Esri’s map in the embed below or by visiting the direct link.

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