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 1.3 million.
The latest swath of applications brings the total amount of jobless claims to more than 51 million over the past four months, wiping out the 20 million jobs added over the last decade by a more than two-to-one margin.
While some states have seen unemployment applications plummet from record highs after the coronavirus pandemic roiled America’s employment picture, some have suffered stubbornly high job losses months into the recovery. A Yahoo Finance review of jobless claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that Oklahoma, Alaska, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida have seen the weakest signs of return to normal and a bottoming out in job losses.
Comparing each state’s average weekly jobless claims totals over the past nine weeks to the nine weeks beginning March 14, which sparked a record amount of unemployment applications, reveals that those states are stopping the bleeding much slower than others. Contrasting those first nine weeks of pain to the latest nine-week period shows that the five weakest states have only seen average weekly initial unemployment claims fall by less than 45%. On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, Rhode Island has seen weekly initial jobless claims fall roughly 82% over the same period.
Rounding out the 10 states showing the softest recoveries over the period observed were Maryland, California, New York, Texas and Wyoming.
While the national total of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell this week for the 15th consecutive week, states that have suffered a tick higher in coronavirus cases are moving in the wrong direction. Florida, California, and Arizona, which have seen cases skyrocket these past few weeks also exhibited rising jobless claims over last week. Interestingly, Texas showed a week-over-week drop of about 11,500 claims in the latest report after leading the nation with its week-over-week spike last week.
Each state, relative to others, saw their recoveries lose ground in the national ranking except Florida which held steady at the fifth weakest improvement in new jobless claims over the period observed.