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US unemployment figures: latest jobless claims by state

The impact of the spread of Covid-19 across the United States of America has seen a surge in jobless claims, with another six million added this week.

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Steiner's pub where bartender Jessie Klenke worked before being sent on leave from her job due to COVID-19 is seen on April 2, 2020, in Las Vegas. - The US Labor Department reported Thursday that 6.6 million people filed for initial unemployment clai

The economic impact that the United States has seen with the accelerated increase in cases of coronavirus caused a record 3.28 million jobless claims in the country two weeks ago. This was then followed on 2 April with an eye-watering 6.65 million Americans applying for unemployment and the latest numbers show a further 6.6 million losing their job. That's 16 million in just three weeks.

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Unemployment in USA

Recent predictions had been for just over five million claims to be made for the week ending 4 April but even the economic experts have been unable to see the level of the economic disaster that is unfolding in front of us.

All areas of industry appear to be unable to avoid hits and every state across the land is being hurt by the effects of the lockdown measures, despite them being slacker than in some other countries.

April 8, 2020 - New York, NY USA: Scenes around Central Park in NYC.
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April 8, 2020 - New York, NY USA: Scenes around Central Park in NYC.James Messerschmidt

Considering that prior to this pandemic, the record high for US unemployment was set in 1982, at 695,000, but forecasts say that a 15% rate could soon be reached, with some even looking at breaching 30% over the coming weeks. Compare that to the 25% of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

All this comes despite the packages of financial support that president Donald Trump has put out, although he will hope that this starts to show some results over the coming weeks.

The states most affected by unemployment

States across the nation have closed bars, restaurants, hotels, cinemas, gyms, and most non-essential establishments as they look to slow down the spread of the virus. Every state reported a rise this week.

Week ending 4 April 2020: California was up 871,992, New York up 286,596, Michigan up 176,329, Florida up 154,171.

Recent US unemployment news

As well as the more obvious impacts of job losses, another one of the problems is that the offices to deal with claims are unable to handle the massive volumes. Calls into them, and requests made online have crashed their systems on numerous occasions.

A stable genius talks about the current crisis, as US President Donald J. Trump looks on.
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A stable genius talks about the current crisis, as US President Donald J. Trump looks on.Michael ReynoldsGTRES

Some experts have thrown some light on the topic, however, by reminding us that, unlike other economic downturns in the past, this one should allow for a faster bounce back once the spread of disease is under control. But with so much uncertainty remaining, and with so many people losing their wage packet, this is of small comfort. The Federal Reserve expects the US economy to enter a recession by the end of the year.

Why unemployment rates matter

As the US Bureau of Labor Statistics states, when workers are unemployed, their household misses out on an income, and the whole nation then loses their contribution to the economy in terms of the goods or services that could have been produced.

Unemployed workers also have much lower purchasing power, meaning less is consumed, which can lead to unemployment for others. This creates a cascading effect that ripples through the economy.