The U.S. labor market woke up from a weeklong nightmare to a real-life horror story. In the last two weeks of March, nearly 10 million Americans filed for unemployment, about 6% of the total workforce. A record 3.3 million claims filed the week ending March 21 practically crashed data visualization tools. But yesterday’s news that 6.6 million claims were filed last week had economists toppling out of their ergonomic spinny chairs. If the number of people who filed claims in the last two weeks of March formed a U.S. state, it’d be the 11th largest behind Michigan.
The hardest hit states and industries: Jobless claims in New Hampshire, Indiana, North Carolina, Michigan, and Louisiana rose 4,000% or more. In terms of actual volume, over 878,000 Californians, 366,000 New Yorkers, and almost 406,000 Pennsylvanians filed. Ohio logged more claims in the last two weeks than it did in all of 2019. While the pandemic initially impacted sectors like tourism and hospitality, job cuts are now getting deeper in industries that had been more shielded, like education, healthcare, law, and tech.