Over 30 Million Unemployment Claims During the Last Six Weeks

For the week that ended on April 25, 2020, 3,839,000 workers filed unemployment insurance (UI) claims. The revised count for the week ending April 18 is 4,442,000 claims. The highest initial claims were recorded the week ending March 28, when they reached 6,867,000. In the last six weeks, we have seen over 30 million initial claims, a number which represents about 20% of nonfarm employment in the U.S. as of February.

The story is the same in Texas. Texas reported 254,199 UI claims for the week ending April 25 after reaching a record of 315,167 claims during the week ending April 4. A total of 1,555,995 initial claims have been filed over the last six weeks, or almost 12% (11.9%) of the total nonfarm employed population in the state as of February.  (Note that while the national data are seasonally adjusted, the Texas data are not.)

For the week ending April 18, the seasonally adjusted number of insured unemployed workers (the number of unemployed workers who are receiving unemployment benefits) was 17,992,000 and the associated insured unemployment rate was 12.4% (the percentage of workers covered by unemployment insurance who are receiving benefits). These are both historical high water marks.

The map below presents the states’ not-seasonally-adjusted initial UI claims for the week ending April 25. Florida had the highest number of new claims at 432,465 or 12.39% of the total 3,489,261 unadjusted claims. California reported the second highest number of claims at 328,042, while Georgia’s 264,818 claims were the third highest. Georgia’s claims were up 7.2% compared to the prior week and it was one of eight states that had increased claims. Washington and Oregon experienced double digit percentage increases of 74.6% and 25.6%, respectively. Across all states and U.S. Territories, unadjusted initial claims were down 18.5% from the prior week. (Click on any state in the figure below to see the number of initial claims, the share of total claims and the percent increase in claims.)


Posted: May 01, 2020 by Dennis W. Jansen, Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier