Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Tracking Jobless Claims by State: Week Ending April 11

According to today’s release from the Labor Department, 5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment last week (ending April 11), a decrease of 1,370,000 from the previous week’s revised level. In the last four weeks, nearly 22 million new jobless claims were filed across the United States, confirming the concerns about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy. Comparing these claims with the total number of employees, nearly 14% of the workforce lost their job in the last four weeks.

The National Association of REALTORS® closely monitors the weekly claims for unemployment insurance provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since this data is also released for each state, we track the jobless claims activity at the state level. This state-level data report is a very important indicator to watch at economic turning points because it provides detail on what’s happening week by week, rather than each month or quarter.

The good news is that 42 states reported a decrease in initial claims for the week ending April 11. California, Michigan, and New Jersey had the highest decline in unemployment claims compared to the previous week. The number of advance claims dropped by 257,848 in California; 169,234 in Michigan; and 74,236 in New Jersey. Parsing out by industry, there were fewer layoffs in the construction and manufacturing industries in California, according to the local unemployment insurance program offices.

However, unadjusted advance claims continued to increase in Colorado, New York, and Florida. Specifically, the number of advance claims increased by 58,747 claims in Colorado; 51,498 claims in New York; and 11,408 in Florida.

Taking a closer look at the percentage change of the last week’s advance claims with the initial claims of the previous week, Maine (-57%) had the largest drop in layoffs followed by Arkansas (-44%), Maryland (-44%) and Michigan (-44%). In contrast, Colorado had the highest increase in layoffs by 127%.

The map below shows you the percentage change of layoffs for each state. Click on a state to see how many layoffs occurred every week within the last year.