Unemployment 2020

There are big variations in the state-by-state unemployment picture

Mitchell Hartman Sep 21, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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States that rely heavily on face-to-face service jobs, like New York, have the highest unemployment. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Unemployment 2020

There are big variations in the state-by-state unemployment picture

Mitchell Hartman Sep 21, 2020
States that rely heavily on face-to-face service jobs, like New York, have the highest unemployment. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The national unemployment rate has fallen from nearly 15% in April down to 8.4% percent last month.

That number, however, masks some big differences in how states are recovering from the huge job losses resulting from the pandemic.

States that rely heavily on face-to-face service jobs have the highest unemployment. Nevada, Hawaii, California and New York have unemployment rates ranging from 11% to more than 13%.

“Travel, tourism, hospitality, dining — those states continue to be hit hard here,” said Jill Gonzalez with the personal finance website WalletHub.

It also matters when and how hard the pandemic hit. Daniel Sternberg at HR platform Gusto said, according to his data, New York still hasn’t recovered all the small business jobs it lost in the spring.

“Because we saw such large declines in some of the service sector, food and beverage, etc., early in the crisis,” Sternberg said.

There are some farm states doing much better. Gonzalez said their main industries, “were simply not as affected by COVID-19. So agriculture, grocery stores, certainly needed those shipments in.”

So unemployment rates in Idaho, Nebraska, South Dakota and Vermont have now fallen below 5%.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

What’s going to happen to retailers, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching?

A report out recently from the accounting consultancy BDO USA said 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy protection through August. And if bankruptcies continue at that pace, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010, after the Great Recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they look for some hope around the holidays.

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