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These 5 states have the worst unemployment rates

The number of jobs lost due to the coronavirus shutdown continue to mount, with the latest weekly total of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rising to 870,000. Yahoo Finance's Emily McCormick and Zack Guzman break down the details.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: So we want to start the show with highlighting the update we got from the Department of Labor looking at unemployment claims ticking higher slightly than what we saw last week, and I want to get to Yahoo Finance's Emily McCormick for more on those numbers. And, Emily, I mean, we're still holding steady here above the highest weekly unemployment claims totals we saw even back in the Great Recession.

EMILY MCCORMICK: That's right, Zack. Just taking a look at the numbers we got from the Labor Department this morning, another 870,000 Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits last week. That was an unexpected increase over the previous week when we had 866,000 new jobless claims. Consensus expectations had been looking for 840,000 for this week, so a step above that expected level.

Now taking a look at continuing claims for the week ended September 12, those reported on a one-week lag, those came in at 12.58 million, also above the 12.3 million that had been expected, but a bit of an improvement from the 12.75 million we saw during the previous week. Now turning back to those new jobless claims, at 870,000, today's figure was the fourth straight week now that we've seen new jobless claims come in below that psychologically important level of 1 million, but still, of course, holding high on a historical basis.

Now, of course, we are down from that pandemic era high of nearly 7 million new weekly claims that we saw in late March, but really holding above that 800,000 level really is showing some stagnation in terms of the pace of recovery now. And taking a look by state here, we had unadjusted new jobless claims in California, where we've seen joblessness due to the pandemic now being compounded with labor market stress due to wildfires, again at the highest in the country at more than 230,000. That was an increase of about 4,400 week on week.

And then taking a look at other states, we had Georgia, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts each reporting significant increases in new claims last week relative to the rest of the country. Now, most states did report an at least modest increase in new claims week over week, so another bit of discouraging sign there from the labor market.

Now finally, the last thing I want to point out here from this report was we did see a number of individuals claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending September 5-- that's the latest data that we have actually on this metric-- coming down slightly following three straight weeks of increases. That now total, 26 million, down from the near 29.8 million that we saw reported during the previous week. So that was the one upshot that I really saw here in today's report. Again, continuing claims also trending lower, but taking.