Updated: Increases in Unemployment Due to Coronavirus by State

As more than half of the U.S. takes the first steps toward reopening the economy after months of keeping non-essential businesses closed, Americans hope to see the massive spike in unemployment start to reverse. Almost 36.5 million Americans have found themselves temporarily or permanently out of a job since the week of March 16, which translates to a staggering 15.7% unemployment. Though the reopening of states will provide opportunities for some people to go back to work, businesses will open in stages rather than all at once, and many may not have the resources to hire as many people as they did previously.

Not all states have experienced the same levels of unemployment due to the pandemic. To identify which states’ workforces have been hurt most by COVID-19, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on increases in unemployment claims. We used this data to rank the most impacted states in both the latest week for which we have data (May 4) and overall since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis (March 16). Read on for the results, additional commentary from a panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.

Increase in California Unemployment Due to Coronavirus (1=Worst, 25=Avg.):

  •  440.23% Increase in Unemployment Claims (May 2020 vs May 2019)
    • 214,028 the week of May 4, 2020 vs 39,618 the week of May 6, 2019
    • The lowest increase in the U.S.
  •  482.86% Increase in the Number of Unemployment Claims (May 2020 vs January 2020)
    • 214,028 the week of May 4, 2020 vs 36,720 the week of January 1, 2020
    • 24th lowest increase in the U.S.
  • 1,329.04% Increase in Unemployment Claims Since Pandemic Started
    • 4,202,932 between the week of March 16, 2020 and the week of May 4, 2020 vs 316,238 between the week of March 18, 2019 and the week of May 6, 2019
    • 5th lowest increase in the U.S.

To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit:

About Kevin

Mayor - City of Oakley, Manager of Mainframe Operations and Optimization – USS-POSCO INDUSTRIES, Co-Founder and Board Member - Friends of Oakley A Community Foundation, Commissioner - Contra Costa Transportation Authority, Board Member - Tri Delta Transit, Transplan, San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority and RD 2137, Advisory Board – Opportunity Junction
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