Unemployment Goes Viral

Unemployment Goes Viral

Much like the pandemic that caused it, the employment situation in the US is changing faster than our systems can track. A booming economy has, almost overnight, transformed into a historic recession, with outlets such as the St. Louis Fed projecting unemployment rates greater than 30 percent in the coming weeks. On April 2, the Department of Labor reported over 6.6 million initial unemployment claims for the week ending March 28 - the highest number of such claims in a single week in US history.

Data are still limited, but the DOL report shows skyrocketing unemployment in nearly every state. The five states with the largest increase in new unemployment claims relative to the week before – Pennsylvania (+363,012), Ohio (+189,263), Massachusetts (+141,003), Texas (+139,250), and California (+128,727) – report layoffs across a wide range of sectors as well. While some industries felt the initial shock more than others (e.g., service industry versus knowledge economy work), nearly all are feeling the pinch now. No one, it seems, is immune to the cascading effects of an economy in retreat.

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