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Coronavirus job losses are hitting these 3 states the hardest

Zack Guzman
Senior Writer

The number of jobs lost due to the coronavirus shutdown continue to mount, with the latest weekly total of Americans applying for unemployment benefits topping 2 million, yet again.

The latest swath of applications brings the total amount of jobless claims to more than 40 million over the past 10 weeks, wiping out the 20 million jobs added over the last decade by a two-to-one margin.

Read more: Coronavirus: How to find a job in a tough economy

But some states have been feeling the impact of job losses more than others. A Yahoo Finance review of jobless claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows that Georgia and other states in the South have been particularly hard hit since the coronavirus pandemic brought the country’s economy to a grinding halt.

Comparing each state’s average weekly jobless claims totals over the past nine weeks to the week before shutdowns started occurring in March, reveals Georgia, Florida, and Kentucky to be the three states showing the largest percentage spike in people applying for unemployment benefits. Georgia, in particular, saw jobless claims average a more than 4,300% spike versus the week ending March 14. Florida and Kentucky saw slightly less dramatic peaks, with claims surging less than 4,000%.

Georgia has suffered the highest spike in average weekly unemployment claims since the coronavirus pandemic began impacting U.S. businesses. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

Read more: How to file for unemployment insurance

Alabama and Virginia rounded out the top five hardest hit states, each averaging about a 3,000% spike in weekly average unemployment claims in the period observed.

Read more: Unemployment insurance: What it is and how to get it

Alabama, which was one of only 13 states to report a rise in unemployment applications over its prior week, has also reported a worrying rise in coronavirus cases, causing concern that it might continue to see unemployment claims mount if businesses have to close again.

This week’s unemployment update from the Department of Labor also broke out insured unemployment rates by state since the coronavirus accelerated through May 9. Looking at the data through that lens, which compares people on unemployment divided by a state’s labor force, shows Washington now has an insured unemployment rate above 30%. Nevada, Florida, Hawaii, and Michigan round out the top five states with the highest insured unemployment rates.

Economists expect more unemployment claims in weeks to come despite states’ lockdown orders being lifted.

Zack Guzman is the host of YFi PM as well as a senior writer and on-air reporter covering entrepreneurship, cannabis, startups, and breaking news at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @zGuz.

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

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