The U.S. Department of Labor reported today that an additional 3.2 million people had filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week. The Great Recession resulted in 8.8 million job losses and while 22.7 million jobs were created afterwards, COVID-19 has wiped out all of the job gains with the increase in unemployment claims to more than 33 million in the last seven weeks.
According to a recent WalletHub study, though, Arkansas has the seventh lowest increase in unemployment claims due to COVID-19.
WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on increases in unemployment insurance initial claims. The number of unemployment initial claims in the week of April 27, 2020 was compared to the week of April 29, 2019 as well as the week of January 1, 2020. Furthermore, the number of unemployment insurance initial claims between the weeks of March 16, 2020 to April 27, 2020 were compared to the same time period last year.
Below is a summary of the report for Arkansas.
Increase in Arkansas Unemployment Due to Coronavirus (1=Worst, 25=Avg.):
- 741.98% increase in Unemployment Claims (April 2020 vs April 2019)
- 12,436 the week of April 27, 2020 vs 1,477 the week of April 29, 2019
- 7th lowest increase in the U.S.
- 382.76% increase in the Number of Unemployment Claims (April 2020 vs January 2020)
- 12,436 the week of April 27, 2020 vs 2,576 the week of January 1, 2020
- 9th lowest increase in the U.S.
- 1,667.46% increase in Unemployment Claims Since Pandemic Started
- 190,257 between the week of March 16, 2020 and the week of April 27, 2020 vs 11,410 between the week of March 18, 2019 and the week of April 29, 2019
- 12th lowest increase in the U.S.
Georgia had the highest increase of unemployment insurance initial claims out of the states in April 2020 compared to April 2019. The state also had the highest increase in claims between the weeks of March 16, 2020 to April 27, 2020 compared to the same time period last year.
Interestingly, WalletHub also found that red states have a slightly lower average increase in unemployment claims than blue states.
“With an average rank of 25 among the most affected states, blue states suffered a higher increase in unemployment during the coronavirus outbreak than red states, which rank 26 on average,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The lower the number, the higher the increase in initial unemployment claims that state received during the coronavirus pandemic.”
In a separate, earlier study, WalletHub compared 180 cities based on increases in unemployment claims. Little Rock and Fort Smith were amongst the 180 cities compared in the study which ranked no. 43 and no. 62 on the list, respectively.