Despite the overall drop in initial jobless claims in the latest week to 1.5 million, there were still nine states that reported significant increases in first-time applications for unemployment benefits.
California alone has processed more than 5 million unemployment claims since the onset of the coronavirus.
Yet 12 states reported significant decreases, which leaves a majority of states reporting initial jobless claims that were not significantly different from normal, pre-coronavirus, levels. That is perhaps the clearest sign of having hit bottom.
But the bottom line is that 44.2 million people have filed first-time claims over the 12 weeks since the onset of the coronavirus.
The state employment agencies in California have processed more than 5 million unemployment claims, five states have processed more than 2 million first-time unemployed members of the labor force, and six others have processed at least 1 million applicants.
That’s 25 million people, in just a handful of states, whose source of income has been lost in the 12 weeks since the shutdown of the economy.
Though the reduction in claims is encouraging, the health crisis will be the catalyst for a changing landscape of employment opportunities once the coronavirus pandemic has been resolved one way or another.
There are currently 15 states with increasing COVID-19 caseloads including California and Texas, which are arguably the two most important economic regions of the union. Changes in service-sector employment have already begun in terms of who is needed and where we work, and the manufacturing sector will find itself dealing with reduced demand from an already slowing global economy and the now-global spread of the virus.
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.