The number of jobs lost due to the coronavirus shutdown continue to mount, with the latest weekly total of Americans applying for unemployment benefits topping 3 million, yet again.
The latest swath of applications brings the total amount of jobless claims to more than 33 million over the past seven 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 reveals 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.
Comparing each state’s average weekly jobless claims totals over the past six 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%.
Interestingly, after climbing up the list from seventh in last week’s reading to second place, Florida saw weekly jobless claims fall by more than 50% to just above 173,000 weekly unemployment claims in the latest reading. The state was among the last in the nation to implement a stay-at-home order and thus is experiencing a later spike in unemployment claims.
Michigan also saw sustained jobless claims over the past month, averaging a more than 3,600% increase to unemployment claims compared to the week ended March 14. Kentucky and New Hampshire also posted noteworthy jumps, both showing a more than 3,500% increase in jobless claims over the same period. Virginia rounded out the top seven states enduring the sharpest percentage spike in jobless claims over the period analyzed.
Economists expect more unemployment claims in weeks to come despite lockdown orders being lifted in certain states.