The number of newly out-of-work employees moved lower in the last week in all but four states, but the totals remain extremely high. This is according to initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits filed during the week at state agencies.
There have been more than 22 million initial jobless claims nationwide since the onslaught of layoffs began during the week of March 20
The damage done in Michigan, Ohio and California is staggering. In addition, Colorado, Missouri, New York and Florida reported significantly more initial jobless claims during the week ending April 11 than would otherwise be expected before the coronavirus shut down the economy.
Nationally, there were 5.2 million initial claims for the week ending April 11 on a seasonally adjusted basis, which eased from 6.6 million claims in the previous week. On a cumulative basis, there have been more than 22 million initial claims for unemployment benefits since the nationwide onslaught of layoffs began during the week of March 20.
The substantial drop in initial claims at this stage should not be conflated with an economic recovery. There are five states with a million or more people applying for unemployment benefits, eight states with more than a half-million newly unemployed people, 13 with more than a quarter-million, and 13 with more than 100,000 newly unemployed people.
Those states will need the resources to give financial support to those unemployed members of the labor force, and then to help them find suitable employment once the health crisis ends and it’s safe to return to work.
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.