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Unemployment Still Historically High, But Continues Downward Trend

Yesterday brought more bad news about Unemployment Insurance claims. According to the Department of Labor, more than 3.8 million more Americans filed for unemployment for the week ending April 25.

This brings the total number of Americans that have been out of work since March 14, when the COVID-19 shock began, to more than 30.5 million. This is a sobering, stunning figure without precedent.

Claims have been falling since the week that ended March 28, when almost 6.9 million people filed claims. So while claims are still historically high, they have been falling for four straight weeks. The 3.8 million claims last week were more than 600,000 less than the week that ended April 18.

The jobs losses are not equally distributed across states. For instance, 27 percent of Michigan’s workforce as it stood in February is now out of work. That’s the highest percentage in the country. Rhode Island is right behind. In contrast, South Dakota has seen the smallest share of its workforce claim unemployment at 6.6 percent. You can see data for each state here.

With states easing stay-at-home restrictions, the hope is that the unemployed will be able to return to work sooner rather than later.

Curtis Dubay, Senior Economist, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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