Nearly 26.5 million people have filed for unemployment within the last month in the United States and experts expect that number to increase in the coming months. In Arkansas, there have been 170,000 unemployment claims filed.
WalletHub released a study comparing the unemployment rate in 180 cities to determine which ones have been impacted the most. Unemployment data from this March was compared to this January and March 2019.
Little Rock and Fort Smith were among the 180 cities compared in the study which ranked no. 43 and no. 62 on the list, respectively.
For Little Rock, there was a 36.43 percent change in unemployment from this March to last March in 2019. When comparing this March to earlier this year in January, the change in unemployment in Little Rock was 21.03 percent.
In Fort Smith, there was a 33.12 percent change in unemployment from this March to last March in 2019. The change in unemployment from this March to this January was 9.07 percent.
Seattle, Washington had the highest unemployment growth rate, ranking no. 1 on the list. The change in unemployment from this March to last March in 2019 was 86.92 percent. The change in unemployment from this March to earlier this year in January was 105.92 percent.
According to WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez, cities can provide tax breaks or ask for federal aid to help businesses in the struggling industries affected by COVID-19 in effort to minimize the increase in unemployment.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. made an announcement earlier today about the Small Business Emergency Assistance Program, a $500,000 forgivable loan program for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Business owners will be able to apply for loans up to $5,000 with no interest beginning next Monday, May 4 through the City of Little Rock Housing and Neighborhood Program. The Small Business Emergency Assistance Program is funded through the Community Development Block Grant Program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.