Coronavirus job losses are hitting these states the hardest


The number of jobs lost due to the coronavirus shutdown continue to mount, with the latest weekly total of Americans applying for unemployment benefits coming in at nearly 3 million, yet again.

The latest swath of applications brings the total amount of jobless claims to more than 35 million over the past eight weeks, more than wiping out the 20 million jobs added over the last decade.

But some states have been feeling the impact of job losses more than others. A Yahoo Finance review of jobless claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that Georgia and other states in the South have been particularly hard hit since the coronavirus pandemic brought the country’s economy to a grinding halt.

Record unemployment claims by U.S. state amid coronavirus
Record unemployment claims by U.S. state amid coronavirus

Comparing each state’s average weekly jobless claims totals over the past seven weeks to the week before shutdowns started occurring, reveals Georgia, Florida, and Alabama to be the three states showing the largest percentage spike in people applying for unemployment benefits. Georgia in particular saw jobless claims average a nearly 5,000% spike versus the week ending March 14. Florida and Alabama saw slightly less dramatic peaks, with claims surging about 4,000%.

Kentucky and Virginia rounded out the top five hardest hit states, each averaging a more than 3,200% spike in weekly average unemployment claims in the period observed.

Read more: Unemployment insurance: What it is and how to get it

Florida, which was one of only six states to report a rise in unemployment applications over its prior week, has reported problems with its unemployment portal due to unprecedented demand. The state was among the last in the nation to implement a stay-at-home order and thus, experienced a later spike in unemployment claims.

This week’s unemployment update from the Department of Labor also broke out insured unemployment rates by state since the coronavirus accelerated through April 25. Looking at the data through that lens, which compares people on unemployment divided by a state’s labor force, shows California now has an insured unemployment rate above 27%. Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Georgia all joined California in topping the list with insured unemployment rates over 20%.

Economists expect more unemployment claims in weeks to come despite lockdown orders being lifted in certain states.

Zack Guzman is the host of YFi PM as well as a senior writer and on-air reporter covering entrepreneurship, cannabis, startups, and breaking news at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @zGuz.

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

Read more:

Why Trump’s plan to curtail immigration will slow the coronavirus recovery

Small US towns are neglected from coronavirus relief and it's a 'slap in the face': Georgia mayor

The coronavirus just doubled the risk of mass bankruptcies

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, SmartNews, LinkedIn, YouTube, and reddit.

Originally published