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 1 million.
The latest swath of applications brings the total amount of jobless claims to more than 58 million since the pandemic began to roil the job market, wiping out the 20 million jobs added over the last decade by a near three-to-one margin.
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While some states have seen unemployment applications recede from record highs after the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. employment picture in March, some have suffered stubbornly high job losses months into the recovery. Those have stacked up in some states to see unemployment rates shoot as high as 20%.
According to the Department of Labor’s latest report, which breaks out the insured unemployment rate (a ratio of people on unemployment benefits divided by labor force) through August 8, Hawaii is currently suffering the worst employment picture with a nation-leading insured unemployment rate of 19.8%. The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico and Nevada round out the top three, with insured unemployment rates at 19.2% and 17.3%, respectively. California followed the top three at 16.1%.
New York, Connecticut, and Louisiana follow closely behind, all with insured unemployment rates above 13% and notably higher than the national average of 10.1% for the same week ended August 8.
Compared to pre-pandemic levels, those unemployment rates are notably higher than the worst states listed in the week ended February 22. Back then, Alaska topped the nation with a similar unemployment rate at just 2.9%. As high as the unemployment rates are now in the hardest hit states, they have still marginally improved from peaks seen months prior. Nevada, for example, has seen its unemployment rate improve 10 percentage points from 27% during the week ended May 9.
As a Yahoo Finance review of jobless claims data showed earlier, some states are recovering more quickly than others, but all are still struggling with varying economic restrictions tied to controlling the spread of the coronavirus.