May 23, 2020 - Economy & Business

States see record unemployment as coronavirus paralyzes industries

In Nevada, the unemployment rate in April exceeded 28%. Photo: David Becker/AFP/Getty Images

Nearly every state across the U.S. reported historic unemployment levels last month, with Nevada, Michigan and Hawaii being among the hardest hit, according to new Labor Department data.

Why it matters: The U.S. is facing its highest rate of joblessness since the Great Depression. The difference between the states' unemployed populations highlights how stay-at-home orders are disproportionately impacting some parts of the country more than others.

  • Economies that rely heavily on travel, tourism, retail, commerce and other service sectors — in states such as Nevada and Hawaii — have been negatively impacted by business closure mandates. Meanwhile, manufacturing plants in Michigan closed, contributing to the hundreds of thousands of jobless claims there.

The state of play: Overall, 43 states recorded the highest unemployment rates in April since the government began tracking the data over 40 years ago, according to the Post.

  • In Nevada, the unemployment rate in April topped 28% — the highest in the U.S. due to the state's reliance on tourism and hospitality.
  • Michigan lost 237,000 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector, 174,000 in manufacturing, and 159,000 in trade, transportation and utilities.
  • Hawaii's unemployment rate jumped 800% in April compared to the same time last year, with 121,000 people losing jobs in a single month.

The other side: Other states have fared better.

  • The unemployment rate in Maryland is about 9.9%, where many people work for the government.
  • A number of technology startups migrated to Utah, where the state unemployment rate in April hovered around 9%.
  • Connecticut has the lowest unemployment rate in the U.S. at 7.9%.

Yes, but: State officials have taken issue with the federal government's unemployment estimates, saying their jobless rates might be twice as high, the Post writes.

Go deeper: Unemployment rate soars to 14.7% in April

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