Amid the national rise in unemployment that has accompanied the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. economy, not all states are equally embattled.
According to data analysis by WalletHub, which examined all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Connecticut has emerged as the state where the deluge of unemployment claims has been the lowest, while Louisiana is bearing the greatest burden.
The survey used two measures to calculate the impact of the coronavirus on each state.
One was the difference between initial unemployment claims in the 14th week of 2020, when more than 6.6 million new unemployment claims were filed, with the 14th week of 2019, when the economy was humming along with an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent.
The other was a comparison of initial unemployment claims from the first week of 2020 with the 14th week.
WalletHub used those two measures to calculate which states have suffered the greatest overall impact in terms of unemployment claims.
In Louisiana, the number of unemployment claims rose 6,118.90 percent over 2019, and 6,111.40 percent over January.
Louisiana’s increase in claims for 2020 put it well ahead of any other state. Its closest rival was New Hampshire, with an increase of 5,148.41 percent since January.
Virginia, at 4,597.55 percent, was next, followed by Arizona at 4,120.59 percent and Mississippi at 3,847.71 percent.
In year-over-year numbers, Louisiana ranked fourth.
The state with the greatest percentage increase in unemployment claims over 2019 was Georgia, at 8,262.24 percent.
Next was New Hampshire at 7,186.52 percent, followed by Virginia at 6,747.65 percent. Fifth place in the survey went to North Dakota, at 5,816.64 percent.
Because the survey combined the two numbers, the states with the greatest rise in unemployment were, after Louisiana, New Hampshire, Virginia, Georgia and Mississippi.
The states ranking as the least impacted were still hit hard.
Although the survey ranked Connecticut as having the lowest rise in unemployment, its claims this year rose 325.60 percent from January through March.
Second among states with the lowest increases was Wyoming, at 640.18 percent. New York state, which has become the epicenter of coronavirus cases, was third with an increase of 669.85 percent. It was followed by Wisconsin at 715.12 percent and Oregon at 743.70 percent.
The lowest year-over-year number came from Oregon, with an increase of 1,167.82 percent. Oregon was followed by Connecticut at 1,294.74 percent; Wyoming, at 1,324.42 percent; Alaska at 1,625.03 percent; and Wisconsin at 1,847.15 percent.
Following Connecticut among states with the lowest increases in unemployment were Oregon, Wyoming, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
“While these numbers are unprecedented, it is important to keep in mind that they are predominantly driven by our response as a society to minimizing the human damage caused by the virus,” Joshua Bernstein, an assistant professor at Indiana University, told WalletHub.
“This sharply contrasts with the causes underlying the 2008 recession and is also why the policy response has been larger than anything we have ever witnessed,” he said.
Ahmed White, a professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, noted the jobless numbers rose “substantially because this is a conscious, planned shutdown of the economy, as opposed to a normal economic downturn.”
“But this, as well as the scale and intensity, make it hard to conjecture what will happen. Obviously, a lot depends on how the pandemic plays out, too; and that’s also impossible to predict with any certainty.”
White was not upbeat that the recovery would be quick.
“In any event, though, there will be a cascading effect: The planned downturn is all but certain to evolve into a conventional recession, as the falloff in consumer demand leads to more job losses, which in turn generates a still greater reduction in demand, and so forth,” he said.
“It may take many months to recover from this.”
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