There were increases in the number of newly filed claims for unemployment benefits in 25 states during the week ending June 27. Thirteen of those states reported increases that were significantly above normal levels.
Kentucky joined the states with at least a million claims for unemployment insurance since the onset of the coronavirus.
We should also note that 10 states reported significant decreases in newly filed claims, which is a drop from the 12 states last week. And nationally, there were 1.4 million initial claims during the week, also a slight drop from the previous week.
Taken together, these changes could be construed as signs of a lull in the reopening of the economy. But because of the haphazard nature of the weekly state data, and because of the uncertain policy response to the surge of coronavirus cases in the South and Southwest, it’s probably too early to label the status of re-employment.
The figures below provide a synopsis of the damage to the workforce, with Kentucky now reporting more than a million cumulative initial jobless claims since the economic shutdown began.
The map below shows three numbers below the state name:
- The cumulative number of initial unemployment claims since March 7, the week before the effect of shutdowns began in earnest.
- The latest increase (decrease) in the number of claims.
- The Z-score of the latest increase (decrease) in claims, which is the number of standard deviations above (below) the pre-coronavirus average.
The first number indicates the depth of the impact of the virus on the labor force.
The second number indicates the direction of the claims (i.e., a first derivative of sorts): positive numbers indicate an increase in claims and labor market distress; positive numbers approaching zero indicate the deceleration in new filings; zero would suggest a plateauing of claims; while negative numbers are an indication that businesses and employees are returning toward normal levels of claims. Negative changes in claims should be viewed relative to the cumulative number of claims.
The third number shows the degree of the shock, with Z-scores outside the range of plus-or-minus two standard deviations considered to be outside of normal occurrences.
For more information on how the coronavirus is affecting midsize businesses, please visit the RSM Coronavirus Resource Center.