States with the Biggest Increases in Unemployment Rates Due to COVID-19 – WalletHub Study

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With the unemployment rate now at 14.7% due in large part to the coronavirus, WalletHub today released its report on the States with the Biggest Increases in Unemployment Rates, along with accompanying videos, to illustrate which areas of the country have been most and least impacted by COVID-19’s assault on jobs. This report examines unemployment rates on a monthly basis, complementing the weekly analysis in WalletHub’s report on the States Hit Most by Unemployment Claims.

In order to identify the states with the biggest increases in unemployment rates, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on three key metrics. We looked at the change in each state’s unemployment rate during the latest month for which we have data (April 2020) compared to April 2019 and January 2020. We also considered each state’s overall unemployment rate. Below, you can see highlights from the report, along with a WalletHub Q&A.

Unemployment Increase in Florida (1=Highest, 25=Avg.):

  • 320.72% Increase in Unemployment (April 2020 vs April 2019)
    • 1,253,979 unemployed people in April 2020 vs 298,056 in April 2019;
    • 22nd highest increase in the U.S.
  • 304.21% Increase in Unemployment (April 2020 vs January 2020)
    • 1,253,979 unemployed people in April 2020 vs 310,226 in January 2020;
    • 13th highest increase in the U.S.
  • 13.3% Unemployment Rate (April 2020)
    • 26th highest unemployment rate in the U.S.

To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit: https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-biggest-increases-in-unemployment-rates/74907/

YouTube video summarizing the study.

WalletHub Q&A

Will the coronavirus pandemic be as bad for jobs as the Great Depression?

“The coronavirus pandemic will not be as bad for jobs as the Great Depression was because the job losses now appear to be more temporary. Most workers who were laid off expect to eventually be rehired, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an increase of 16.2 million ‘temporary’ job losses in April compared to 544,000 ‘permanent’ losses. Although the unemployment rate is currently at the highest level since the Great Depression, we don’t expect it to surpass that historic mark,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The U.S. will eventually reopen fully, and we are already starting to see some progress in vaccine research. A full reopening combined with a vaccine will provide the economic and public health boost we need to get back on track.”

What can states do to support people who are unemployed, other than provide traditional benefits?

“Aside from financial assistance, the best way for states to support unemployed residents is to facilitate a safe reopening that allows businesses to start rehiring. States should prioritize reopening places that help unemployed people get back to work, such as libraries with free Wi-Fi where they can conduct job searches and childcare programs that allow parents to go to work,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Safety should be the number one concern in any state’s reopening process, so a big part of getting people back to work is requiring face masks in public and other restrictive measures to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19.”

Which state has experienced the biggest increase in unemployment vs. the beginning of the year?

“Hawaii has experienced the biggest increase in unemployment because the number of unemployed persons jumped by 666% from January 2020 to April, compared to the average increase of 248%,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Hawaii’s overall unemployment rate is 23.5%, compared to the average of 14.7%.”

Which state has experienced the smallest increase in unemployment vs. the beginning of the year?

“Connecticut has experienced the smallest increase in unemployment because it has seen a 65% rise in the number of unemployed persons from January 2020 to April, compared to the average increase of 248%,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Connecticut’s overall unemployment rate is 8.0%, compared to the average of 14.7%.”

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