Texas became the fifth state to have processed 3 million initial filings for unemployment benefits since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and the shutdown of local economies on March 7.
Of the five states that have passed the 3 million mark, only New York has escaped the latest outbreak of COVID-19 infections.
Of the four other states (California, Florida, Georgia and New York), only New York has escaped the latest outbreak of COVID-19 infections that is sweeping through the South and the Southwest and into the interior states.
Of note this week, the changes in initial claims in all of the Northeastern states were either insignificantly different than pre-virus levels or were significantly lower.
In aggregate, the states have processed a staggering 52.7 million first-time applications for unemployment benefits since the March economic shutdown. And weekly initial jobless claims remain nearly six times above normal levels.
Given the current spread of the virus and the reluctance of states to slow the reopening of their economies in some of those hardest-hit states, we expect the increase in jobless claims to lag that spread, continuing its haphazard path in coming weeks.
The figures below provide a synopsis of the damage to the workforce and the increased need for social services and monetary support in coming months.
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.