U.S. Unemployment Insurance Claims Fall to 2.4 Million for the Week Ending May 16; Texas’ April Unemployment Rises to 12.8%

For the week that ended on May 16, 2020, 2,438,000 workers filed unemployment insurance (UI) claims. This is the seventh week that initial weekly claims have declined from the previous week. The highest initial claims were recorded the week ending March 28 when they reached 6,867,000.  In the last nine weeks, we have seen 38.6 million initial claims.

Texas reported 134,381 UI claims for the week ending May 16. The highest number of weekly claims occurred during the week ending April 4 they reached a record 315,167.  A total of 2,075,749 initial claims have been filed over the last nine weeks. (Note that while the national data are seasonally adjusted, the Texas data are not.)

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the states’ unemployment rates for April. The next figure depicts the unemployment rates for Texas and the U.S. The March unemployment rate in Texas was revised to 5.1 percent, or 12.8% in April, a historic high not seen since 1976.

The next figure presents the employment changes by industry in Texas between March and April.  The Leisure and Hospitality industry was hardest hit with a 38.7% drop in employment. These losses accounted for 40.8% of the total decline in employment in the state. The industries grouped together in the ‘Other’ category includes Extraction industries (including Oil and Gas Extraction), information, and other services. This industry group saw a 13.5% reduction in employment and accounted for 9.4% of the total job losses in the state.  Employment dropped 6.8% in Trade, Transportation, and Utilities for 13.4% of the total job losses in Texas.

The map below presents the states’ not-seasonally-adjusted initial UI claims for the week ending May 16. California had the highest number of new claims at 246,115 or 11.3% of the total 2,174,329   unadjusted claims. California’s claims were up 15.7% from the previous week. New York’s 226,521 claims were second highest and were 13.6% higher than the previous week. Florida had the third highest claims at 223,927, up 0.4% from the previous week.  Georgia’s 176,548 claims were fourth highest, a decrease of 27.3% from the previous week. Washington’s 145,228 claims were fifth highest and were 31% higher than the previous week. Across all states and U.S. Territories, unadjusted initial claims were down 7.7% 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 22, 2020 by Carlos I. Navarro, Andrew J. Rettenmaier