/Six states saw increases in unemployment claims last week: Many workers who are not usually eligible have filed for unemployment

Six states saw increases in unemployment claims last week: Many workers who are not usually eligible have filed for unemployment


Correction: This blog post has been updated with the correct number of claims for Connecticut. The U.S. Department of Labor’s release on 5/14/20 reported that 298,680 initial claims were filed in Connecticut last week, but Connecticut’s Department of Labor reported that the correct number is 29,846. The total number of initial claims in the U.S. last week, not seasonally adjusted, has also been corrected to 2.3 million.

Another 2.3 million people filed for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits last week (not seasonally adjusted), bringing the total to more than 33 million workers filing for UI benefits in the past eight weeks during the coronavirus pandemic.

While most states saw a decline in UI claims filed relative to the prior week, six states saw increases in UI claims. South Dakota saw the largest percent increase in claims (30.6%) compared with the prior week, followed by Florida (26.9%), Washington (13.7%), Georgia (5.7%), New York (2.7%), and Wisconsin (1.8%).

Georgia had 241,387 initial UI claims last week—more than any other state—followed by Florida (221,905). This comes after several states, including Florida and Georgia, have allowed restaurants and similar businesses to reopen, indicating that state policymakers are risking a greater outbreak with very little of the economic benefits they had expected.

Figure A and Table 1 below compare UI claims filed last week with the prior week and the pre-virus period, in both level and percent terms. It also shows the cumulative number of unemployment claims since March 7 and that number as a share of each state’s labor force. In three states, over a third of the workforce filed an initial claim during the past two months: Georgia (35.8%), Kentucky (35.8%), and Hawaii (33.4%).

New and cumulative jobless claims by state: Unemployment insurance (UI) claims filed during the week ending May 9, change in claims, and total claims as share of state labor force

State Initial claims filed % change from the prior week Level change from the prior week % change from pre-virus period Level change from pre-virus period Sum of initial claims for the nine weeks ending May 9 Sum of initial claims as a share of labor force
Alabama 25,929 -10.5% -3,056 1,130% 23,821 474,261 21.1%
Alaska 8,367 -4.0% -351 891% 7,523 88,937 25.7%
Arizona 31,795 -26.1% -11,228 868% 28,512 552,947 15.3%
Arkansas 12,416 -7.7% -1,032 739% 10,937 205,067 15.0%
California 214,028 -32.3% -102,229 424% 173,156 331,114 1.7%
Colorado 22,493 -20.7% -5,867 1,081% 20,589 391,985 12.3%
Connecticut 29,846 -17.4% -6,292 1,056% 27,265 331,114 17.2%
Delaware 5,068 -19.5% -1,229 788% 4,497 91,252 18.7%
Washington D.C. 5,746 -29.2% -2,367 1,164% 5,292 88,053 21.3%
Florida 221,905 26.9% 47,045 4,279% 216,838 1,996,102 19.1%
Georgia 241,387 5.7% 13,035 4,409% 236,034 1,844,425 35.8%
Hawaii 12,327 -18.4% -2,786 985% 11,191 223,344 33.4%
Idaho 5,511 -26.5% -1,984 400% 4,410 131,849 14.8%
Illinois 72,993 -2.0% -1,483 677% 63,602 977,607 15.3%
Indiana 30,691 -27.4% -11,599 1,123% 28,183 643,801 19.0%
Iowa 16,735 -28.0% -6,506 617% 14,402 301,327 17.2%
Kansas 13,138 -17.7% -2,821 715% 11,525 243,003 16.2%
Kentucky 69,069 -16.2% -13,366 2,661% 66,567 745,517 35.8%
Louisiana 40,268 -21.0% -10,673 2,288% 38,582 601,640 28.5%
Maine 10,131 -37.1% -5,982 1,206% 9,355 135,935 19.6%
Maryland 44,491 -29.7% -18,762 1,512% 41,731 498,719 15.2%
Massachusetts 44,467 -20.4% -11,417 634% 38,409 833,462 21.7%
Michigan 47,438 -29.6% -19,961 759% 41,914 1,381,988 27.9%
Minnesota 40,427 -2.6% -1,065 1,049% 36,908 637,614 20.4%
Mississippi 22,810 -11.4% -2,935 2,656% 21,982 245,655 19.2%
Missouri 28,939 -44.9% -23,588 853% 25,901 540,504 17.4%
Montana 3,443 -25.1% -1,153 341% 2,662 98,715 18.4%
Nebraska 6,408 -0.2% -10 1,161% 5,900 117,830 11.3%
Nevada 24,045 -15.8% -4,505 942% 21,738 443,154 28.4%
New Hampshire 9,491 -23.9% -2,984 1,582% 8,927 183,255 23.5%
New Jersey 68,685 -22.2% -19,641 740% 60,506 1,056,907 23.2%
New Mexico 8,850 -35.3% -4,825 1,150% 8,142 140,237 14.6%
New York 200,375 2.7% 5,265 987% 181,945 2,020,100 21.1%
North Carolina 56,193 -34.6% -29,763 2,085% 53,621 894,694 17.5%
North Dakota 3,225 -20.3% -819 669% 2,806 64,130 15.9%
Ohio 50,548 -17.8% -10,939 592% 43,248 1,178,615 20.2%
Oklahoma 32,794 -65.1% -61,091 2,026% 31,252 412,396 22.4%
Oregon 31,737 -34.0% -16,383 699% 27,765 365,556 17.4%
Pennsylvania 75,557 -20.0% -18,888 499% 62,936 1,802,567 27.5%
Rhode Island 5,318 -41.5% -3,770 374% 4,195 161,075 28.8%
South Carolina 32,513 -31.8% -15,160 1,572% 30,569 497,100 20.8%
South Dakota 5,131 30.6% 1,202 2,715% 4,949 43,139 9.2%
Tennessee 29,308 -19.3% -7,015 1,358% 27,298 493,014 14.6%
Texas 141,672 -41.9% -102,263 992% 128,701 1,957,663 13.8%
Utah 7,135 -20.7% -1,857 613% 6,134 154,596 9.5%
Vermont 2,805 -27.6% -1,070 356% 2,190 63,607 18.7%
Virginia 53,396 -10.5% -6,235 1,921% 50,755 681,712 15.3%
Washington 116,210 13.7% 13,994 1,814% 110,140 1,084,111 27.4%
West Virginia 5,842 -55.8% -7,385 417% 4,712 144,004 17.9%
Wisconsin 38,582 1.8% 697 582% 32,928 524,321 16.9%
Wyoming 2,686 -5.9% -168 439% 2,188 36,321 12.3%

Notes: Initial claims for the week ending May 9 reflect advance state claims, not seasonally adjusted. For comparisons with the “pre-virus period,” we use a four-week average of initial claims for the weeks ending February 15–March 7, 2020. For comparisons to the size of the labor force, we use February 2020 levels. These reports only include regular state unemployment insurance claims and do not include claims from the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.

Every state, especially many in the South, is continuing to see astonishingly high numbers of claims relative to the pre-virus period. Last week, Georgia and Florida saw the largest percent increase in claims (4,409% and 4,279%, respectively) compared with the pre-virus period. Eight of the 10 states that had the highest percent change in initial UI claims relative to the pre-virus period are in the South: Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Virginia.

The data we have provided so far has not included people who applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)—the new federal program that extend unemployment compensation to workers who are not eligible for regular UI but are out of work due to the pandemic, such as gig workers and people who left their jobs to care for a child. Today’s news release from the Department of Labor (DOL) provided our first look at the number of workers who have applied for PUA in each state. In the last two weeks alone, more than 1.8 million workers in 29 states have filed for PUA. Table 2 displays the limited information we have so far on initial state-level PUA claims. In the last two weeks, California reported the most PUA claims (434,397), followed by Michigan (224,057), North Carolina (142,302), Massachusetts (139,290), and New Jersey (127,334).

To mitigate the economic harm to workers, the next federal relief and recovery package should extend the across-the-board $600 increase in weekly unemployment benefits well past its expiration at the end of July. The package should also include substantial aid to state and local governments, worker protections, investments in our democracy, and resources for coronavirus testing and contact tracing, which is necessary to reopen the economy. The Heroes Act, introduced by Democrats in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, would provide critical relief and recovery measures for U.S. workers and is an essential step forward.

New and cumulative jobless claims by state: Unemployment insurance (UI) claims filed during the week ending May 9, change in claims, and total claims as share of state labor force

State Initial claims filed % change from the prior week Level change from the prior week % change from pre-virus period Level change from pre-virus period Sum of initial claims for the nine weeks ending May 9 Sum of initial claims as a share of labor force
Alabama 25,929 -10.5% -3,056 1,130% 23,821 474,261 21.1%
Alaska 8,367 -4.0% -351 891% 7,523 88,937 25.7%
Arizona 31,795 -26.1% -11,228 868% 28,512 552,947 15.3%
Arkansas 12,416 -7.7% -1,032 739% 10,937 205,067 15.0%
California 214,028 -32.3% -102,229 424% 173,156 331,114 1.7%
Colorado 22,493 -20.7% -5,867 1,081% 20,589 391,985 12.3%
Connecticut 29,846 -17.4% -6,292 1,056% 27,265 331,114 17.2%
Delaware 5,068 -19.5% -1,229 788% 4,497 91,252 18.7%
District of Columbia 5,746 -29.2% -2,367 1,164% 5,292 88,053 21.3%
Florida 221,905 26.9% 47,045 4,279% 216,838 1,996,102 19.1%
Georgia 241,387 5.7% 13,035 4,409% 236,034 1,844,425 35.8%
Hawaii 12,327 -18.4% -2,786 985% 11,191 223,344 33.4%
Idaho 5,511 -26.5% -1,984 400% 4,410 131,849 14.8%
Illinois 72,993 -2.0% -1,483 677% 63,602 977,607 15.3%
Indiana 30,691 -27.4% -11,599 1,123% 28,183 643,801 19.0%
Iowa 16,735 -28.0% -6,506 617% 14,402 301,327 17.2%
Kansas 13,138 -17.7% -2,821 715% 11,525 243,003 16.2%
Kentucky 69,069 -16.2% -13,366 2,661% 66,567 745,517 35.8%
Louisiana 40,268 -21.0% -10,673 2,288% 38,582 601,640 28.5%
Maine 10,131 -37.1% -5,982 1,206% 9,355 135,935 19.6%
Maryland 44,491 -29.7% -18,762 1,512% 41,731 498,719 15.2%
Massachusetts 44,467 -20.4% -11,417 634% 38,409 833,462 21.7%
Michigan 47,438 -29.6% -19,961 759% 41,914 1,381,988 27.9%
Minnesota 40,427 -2.6% -1,065 1,049% 36,908 637,614 20.4%
Mississippi 22,810 -11.4% -2,935 2,656% 21,982 245,655 19.2%
Missouri 28,939 -44.9% -23,588 853% 25,901 540,504 17.4%
Montana 3,443 -25.1% -1,153 341% 2,662 98,715 18.4%
Nebraska 6,408 -0.2% -10 1,161% 5,900 117,830 11.3%
Nevada 24,045 -15.8% -4,505 942% 21,738 443,154 28.4%
New Hampshire 9,491 -23.9% -2,984 1,582% 8,927 183,255 23.5%
New Jersey 68,685 -22.2% -19,641 740% 60,506 1,056,907 23.2%
New Mexico 8,850 -35.3% -4,825 1,150% 8,142 140,237 14.6%
New York 200,375 2.7% 5,265 987% 181,945 2,020,100 21.1%
North Carolina 56,193 -34.6% -29,763 2,085% 53,621 894,694 17.5%
North Dakota 3,225 -20.3% -819 669% 2,806 64,130 15.9%
Ohio 50,548 -17.8% -10,939 592% 43,248 1,178,615 20.2%
Oklahoma 32,794 -65.1% -61,091 2,026% 31,252 412,396 22.4%
Oregon 31,737 -34.0% -16,383 699% 27,765 365,556 17.4%
Pennsylvania 75,557 -20.0% -18,888 499% 62,936 1,802,567 27.5%
Rhode Island 5,318 -41.5% -3,770 374% 4,195 161,075 28.8%
South Carolina 32,513 -31.8% -15,160 1,572% 30,569 497,100 20.8%
South Dakota 5,131 30.6% 1,202 2,715% 4,949 43,139 9.2%
Tennessee 29,308 -19.3% -7,015 1,358% 27,298 493,014 14.6%
Texas 141,672 -41.9% -102,263 992% 128,701 1,957,663 13.8%
Utah 7,135 -20.7% -1,857 613% 6,134 154,596 9.5%
Vermont 2,805 -27.6% -1,070 356% 2,190 63,607 18.7%
Virginia 53,396 -10.5% -6,235 1,921% 50,755 681,712 15.3%
Washington 116,210 13.7% 13,994 1,814% 110,140 1,084,111 27.4%
West Virginia 5,842 -55.8% -7,385 417% 4,712 144,004 17.9%
Wisconsin 38,582 1.8% 697 582% 32,928 524,321 16.9%
Wyoming 2,686 -5.9% -168 439% 2,188 36,321 12.3%

Notes: Initial claims for the week ending May 9 reflect advance state claims, not seasonally adjusted. For comparisons to the “pre-virus period,” we use a four-week average of initial claims for the weeks ending February 15–March 7, 2020. For comparisons to the size of the labor force, we use February 2020 levels. These reports only include regular state unemployment insurance claims and do not include claims from the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims by state: PUA and regular Unemployment insurance (UI) claims filed during the weeks ending May 2 and May 9

PUA initial claims Sum of PUA and regular UI initial claims
State Week ending May 2 Week ending May 9 Two week sum Week ending May 2 Week ending May 9 Two week sum
Alabama 0 0 0 28,985 25,929 54,914
Alaska 0 0 0 8,718 8,367 17,085
Arizona 0 0 0 43,023 31,795 74,818
Arkansas 0 0 0 13,448 12,416 25,864
California 297,738 136,659 434,397 613,995 350,687 964,682
Colorado 13,149 9,125 22,274 41,509 31,618 73,127
Connecticut 0 10,624 10,624 36,138 40,470 76,608
Delaware 0 0 0 6,297 5,068 11,365
Washington D.C. 0 0 0 8,113 5,746 13,859
Florida 0 0 0 174,860 221,905 396,765
Georgia 0 0 0 228,352 241,387 469,739
Hawaii 0 0 0 15,113 12,327 27,440
Idaho 0 3,985 3,985 7,495 9,496 16,991
Illinois 0 0 0 74,476 72,993 147,469
Indiana 0 68,835 68,835 42,290 99,526 141,816
Iowa 4,509 3,910 8,419 27,750 20,645 48,395
Kansas 0 0 0 15,959 13,138 29,097
Kentucky 0 0 0 82,435 69,069 151,504
Louisiana 20,245 17,583 37,828 71,186 57,851 129,037
Maine 10,498 9,647 20,145 26,611 19,778 46,389
Maryland 44,280 18,982 63,262 107,533 63,473 171,006
Massachusetts 68,826 70,464 139,290 124,710 114,931 239,641
Michigan 86,009 138,048 224,057 153,408 185,486 338,894
Minnesota 1,015 2,311 3,326 42,507 42,738 85,245
Mississippi 0 0 0 25,745 22,810 48,555
Missouri 17,784 7,082 24,866 70,311 36,021 106,332
Montana 3,524 2,163 5,687 8,120 5,606 13,726
Nebraska 1,633 1,784 3,417 8,051 8,192 16,243
Nevada 0 0 0 28,550 24,045 52,595
New Hampshire 0 0 0 12,475 9,491 21,966
New Jersey 76,100 51,234 127,334 164,426 119,919 284,345
New Mexico 17,850 4,670 22,520 31,525 13,520 45,045
New York 38,700 53,042 91,742 233,810 253,417 487,227
North Carolina 89,951 52,351 142,302 175,907 108,544 284,451
North Dakota 5,827 526 6,353 9,871 3,751 13,622
Ohio 0 0 0 61,487 50,548 112,035
Oklahoma 2,124 7,162 9,286 96,009 39,956 135,965
Oregon 0 0 0 48,120 31,737 79,857
Pennsylvania 43,889 51,591 95,480 138,334 127,148 265,482
Rhode Island 5,815 4,954 10,769 14,903 10,272 25,175
South Carolina 0 0 0 47,673 32,513 80,186
South Dakota 99 693 792 4,028 5,824 9,852
Tennessee 10,617 5,914 16,531 46,940 35,222 82,162
Texas 56,548 47,088 103,636 300,483 188,760 489,243
Utah 0 0 0 8,992 7,135 16,127
Vermont 0 0 0 3,875 2,805 6,680
Virginia 0 0 0 59,631 53,396 113,027
Washington 66,652 48,665 115,317 168,868 164,875 333,743
West Virginia 0 0 0 13,227 5,842 19,069
Wisconsin 18,652 11,194 29,846 56,537 49,776 106,313
Wyoming 572 1,709 2,281 3,426 4,395 7,821
US Total 1,002,606 841,995 1,844,601 3,851,696 3,187,254 7,038,950

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