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First Cut: State unemployment data for April reflected shutdowns in manufacturing, leisure and hospitality

Detail data on state and unemployment in April provided some nuance on the jump in the national unemployment rate to 14.7% in April. However, the fact that all 50 states and the District of Columbia experienced increased joblessness is a blunt statement of how badly the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures to combat it have hit the labor market. Payrolls were also down in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The report said the highest unemployment rates in April were 28.2% in Nevada, 22.7% in Michigan, and 22.3% in Hawaii.
Clearly travel and leisure activities were the cause behind new record highs for Nevada and Hawaii. Michigan was also a new high for that state where manufacturing was deeply affected by the sudden contraction in motor vehicle sales to consumers and businesses.

Jobless claims data has reflected the massive cuts in payrolls. The BLS numbers saw the largest declines in California (-2.345 million), New York (-1.827 million), and Texas (-1.299 million). These three states are among the 10 that have the largest share of the labor market. Michigan – also among the top 10 – was not far behind (-1.009 million). For a second month in a row, all of the top 10 states had a drop in payrolls.

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