Initial jobless claims in state programs decreased from the prior week on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, though they remain extremely high at almost 800,000. Public transportation usage incrementally improved last week, but has steadied at about half of its pre-pandemic norm. Airline passenger traffic was down slightly, though this followed the week with the Labor Day holiday.
With COVID-19’s continued grip on the U.S., new unemployment claims increased slightly week-over-week on September 14, but were still 87% below the peak during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help add some context to these statistics, WalletHub just released updated rankings for the States Whose Weekly Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest.
To identify which states’ workforces are experiencing the quickest recovery from COVID-19, they ompared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three metrics based on changes in unemployment claims. Below, you can see highlights from the report.
What’s the best course of action once President Trump’s $300 in weekly unemployment benefits run out?
“Once President Trump’s $300 in weekly unemployment benefits run out, we’re going to need a long-term solution, and the only way to do that is for Congress to come together to pass a bipartisan relief plan,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Unemployed Americans desperately need continued support, considering many people have been unemployed for over six months, and it’s crucial that we extend additional aid to them through the end of the pandemic.”
If a coronavirus vaccine is distributed before the end of the year, how could that impact unemployment?
“If a coronavirus vaccine becomes available before the end of the year, that’s great news for unemployment. If most people are vaccinated against COVID-19, the transmission risk will be minimized and we will finally be able to achieve a full reopening. Business revenue will increase, and as a result, businesses will have a greater ability to hire,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Even though it would be great to have a vaccine this year, it’s important to make sure that clinical trials are not rushed so that the final product has the best efficacy possible. We may also face an uphill battle getting people vaccinated, as recent surveys suggest as much as a third of the population would refuse the vaccine.”
Are Americans more concerned about unemployment or about COVID-19?
“Around 35 percent of Americans say COVID-19 is the biggest problem facing the U.S., compared to 3 percent who say unemployment, which shows that Americans are more focused on the pandemic,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “It’s important to remember that COVID-19 is the ultimate source of our unemployment problems, as we had record low unemployment before the pandemic which jumped to a nearly historic high due to business closures. The sooner we contain the pandemic, the sooner the employment market can recover.”
What measures can we use to detect/trace COVID-19 in the workplace to prevent outbreaks that will lead to more unemployment?
“In order to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 in the workplace that will lead to more unemployment, we should implement testing upon arrival as well as use apps to perform swift contact tracing for any employees found to have the virus,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The problem with current COVID-19 testing is that in order to preserve accuracy it is expensive and slow. For workplaces and public spaces like airports, we need to have cheap, near-instant tests available for mass testing, even if they are not quite as accurate. Such tests are in development but need FDA approval.”
How do red states and blue states compare when it comes to recovery?
“With an average rank of 27 among the most recovered states, blue states had a worse recovery from unemployment claims last week than red states, which rank 25 on average,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The lower the number of the ranking, the bigger the state’s recovery was.”
How has unemployment in California – the state with the most COVID-19 cases – recovered?
“California’s unemployment claims have experienced the 5th slowest recovery in the U.S. For the week of September 14, California had 230,443 new unemployment claims, a 78% decrease from the peak during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst.
To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit: