Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Tracking Jobless Claims by State: Week Ending April 4, 2020

According to the today’s release from the Labor Department, 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week (ending April 4th), a decrease of 261,000 from the previous week’s revised level. In the last three weeks, nearly 17 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 11% of the workforce lost their job in the last three weeks.

The National Association of REALTORS® will closely monitor the weekly claims for unemployment insurance provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since this data is also released for each state, we will 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.

Twenty-one states reported a decrease in initial claims for the week ending April 4. California, Pennsylvania, and Florida had the highest declines in unemployment claims compared to previous week. The number of advance claims dropped by 132,875 in California; 120,959 in Pennsylvania; and 58,599 in Florida. However, unadjusted advance claims continued to increase in Georgia, Michigan and Arizona. Specifically, the number of advance claims increased by 254,355 claims in Georgia; 80,509 claims in Michigan; and 43,249 in Arizona.  

Taking a closer look at the percentage change of the last week’s advance claims with the initial claims of the previous week, Georgia, Arkansas and Arizona were the states with the highest weekly change in layoffs. In Georgia and Arkansas, layoffs increased 3 times as the previous week’s level.

Parsing out by industry, most of the layoffs hit the services industries, according to the local unemployment insurance program offices. For instance, in New York, most of layoffs were reported in the accommodation and food services, retail trade, and health care and social assistance industries.

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 in the last year.