(Reuters) – Unemployment rose and total employment fell in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia in April as efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic forced companies to shut down across the country, the Department of Labor said on Friday.
FILE PHOTO: People who lost their jobs are reflected in the door of an Arkansas Workforce Center waiting in line to apply for unemployment following an outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA April 6, 2020. REUTERS / Nick Oxford – / File Photo / File Photo
The department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said 43 states set record high unemployment rates last month, the highest of which was in Nevada, the state with the greatest reliance on the severely affected food service and hospitality industry. Nevada’s unemployment rate rose by 21.3 percentage points from March to 28.2%, which was almost twice the national rate of 14.7% in April.
The monthly breakdown of employment levels at the state level and unemployment at the state level, published two weeks after the national payroll, painted a picture of widespread but uneven devastation caused by the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease triggered by the new corona virus.
The payroll report May 8 showed a record 20.5 million jobs were lost in April, the steepest depth in American employment since the Great Depression.
Friday’s report indicated that more than a quarter of those job losses were concentrated in three of the largest US states: California, which threw 2.3 million jobs; New York, which has seen the largest number of US COVID-19 cases and deaths and lost 1.8 million positions; and Texas, which has suffered a double blow from the oil price slump and lost 1.3 million jobs.
In Nevada, home to the global gaming mecca in Las Vegas, half of the nearly 245,000 jobs lost in April were in the leisure and hospitality sector. That industry has suffered the biggest losses nationally from reductions in travel and widespread closures of restaurants in a restaurant for a month when stay-at-home orders were widely distributed.
The leisure and hospitality losses also took a major toll on Hawaii, one of only three states with an unemployment rate of over 20% – Nevada and Michigan being the other two. The Pacific Island State lost more than 55% of leisure and hospitality jobs last month, accounting for 57% of all jobs lost during that period.
In Michigan, more than one in five jobs was eliminated, at least temporarily. The leisure and hospitality sector also led to the reductions there, but a quarter of the state’s losses came in the manufacturing and construction sectors.
Dismissals continued in May, even when all 50 states have opened businesses to one degree or another. On Thursday, BLS reported that more than 2.4 million people signed up for unemployment benefits for the first time last week and those who continue to receive unemployment benefits topped 25 million in the week ending May 9.
These data suggest that the worst may not be over for the hardest hit states like Nevada, Hawaii and Michigan. The number of continued claims increased in all three, including a 31% increase week over week in Hawaii.
Economists believe that progress in reducing infection rates will be an important factor behind the success of the state’s reopening efforts.
On that front, at least both Hawaii and Nevada appear to be leaders, and they are among only eight states that have shown three straight weeks with declines in the 7-day average of new cases. Michigan is among 20 states that have seen declines in two of the past three weeks.
Reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Andrea Ricci and Paul Simao