15 States Where Unemployment Claims Are Rising The Most

Krystal Smith

Unemployment rates can vary dramatically across the different states in America as the economic landscape fluctuates due to various influences like advancements in technology, globalization, and unexpected events like the COVID-19 pandemic. By breaking down the states in which most people are filing for unemployment, we can gain insight into the economic climate in these areas, the workforce trends, and the need for a targeted solution.


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California, the world’s fifth-largest economy, has a highly complex and dynamic labor market. However, the state has had its share of challenges in recent years, including the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching effects on the economy and specific industries, such as hospitality, tourism, and entertainment. Rising claims continue to underscore the patchiness of economic recovery in sectors heavily reliant on consumer spending and in-person engagements.


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Not to be forgotten is the great state of Texas, which has a strong and diverse economy. Still, some regions of Texas have recently experienced a surge in unemployment claims, such as the oil capital Houston and other cities Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Wichita Falls, Killeen/Temple, Amarillo, and the list goes on. This includes the oil and gas, restaurant and bar, and retail sectors. The reasons are a downturn in oil prices, devastating floods, and quarantines due to recent Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Florence.


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Florida’s economy has historically been driven by three major industries: tourism, agriculture, and direct service. These industries are severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused a staggering increase in unemployment claims as businesses adjust to a massive decrease in consumer demand and operational capacity, two significant factors brought about by social distancing restrictions.

New York

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In the face of a public health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, New York, with its crammed urban area and various economic sectors within its borders, is dealing with a situation of a different magnitude. Precisely, the financial earthquake that occurred in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak has turned out to be worse than the urban tragedy that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. With the closure of countless businesses, limitations on mass gatherings, and the extraordinary shift in consumer behavior, New York faces an unemployment rate far above the national average, with disproportionately high rates in industries like hospitality, retail, and the arts.


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Home to many vibrant urban centers and a solid manufacturing base, Illinois has seen a considerable increase in unemployment claims filed. Illinois has seen particular hardship in manufacturing—notably in the transportation, logistics, retail, and supply chain sectors—due to supply disruption, changing consumer preferences, and economic uncertainty.


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Pennsylvania’s economy has gone through a dramatic transformation. Historically, the state has balanced out its job sector handling as a manufacturing and mining economy. It is now to the point where the state can claim an industry besides its old manufacturing and mining roots. With technology and healthcare starting to show true resilience in Pennsylvania, the state has some self-sustaining industries. Unfortunately, due to the global meltdown and changes in the liquid fuel industry (new hydraulic “fracturing” technology accessing Oceanic US liquid crude deposit), the state will probably soon go through unemployment issues again. Hence, the state’s platform independence is perhaps then a question mark.


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Georgia, a state with a diverse economy consisting of various occupations such as manufacturing, logistics, and information technology, has experienced a rise in unemployment claims. The increasing concerns about an economic recession could leave the state’s economy and workforce to face some uncertain times. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the global supply chain has been disrupted, which has led to companies being forced to move or lay off their employees.


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Michigan has been a manufacturing and automotive powerhouse in the US. It has been facing economic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and trade disputes with other countries. Technological advances (e.g., automation and uncrewed vehicles) have fundamentally changed the US auto industry. The state continues to wrestle with transitioning to a more diverse and resilient economy while supporting the needs of displaced workers and communities. The rising number of people filing for unemployment benefits among Michigan workers reflects ongoing disruption.


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With a rich industrial heritage and diversified manufacturing base, the Ohio economy has benefited and faced many challenges from global competition, automation, and economic restructuring. Ohio’s response to the market adjustments has created jobs; however, supporting and emerging industries have been cited as the reason behind the increased claims for unemployment. Ohio will need targeted workforce development practices and economic revitalization strategies to manage labor resources.

North Carolina

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The North Carolina economy has also had several notable shifts in employment patterns and the labor market in general. Specific industries are excelling and are, therefore, experiencing far more job openings than others. The tech, healthcare, and finance industries all have jobs waiting for those who recently finished school, just to name a few. Others, on the other hand, are struggling right now. These include industries with positions being phased out due to the internet/consumer spending tastes or are currently stagnant, like factories. In addition, specific industries are relatively small and provide few job openings. Examples of different sectors in this category include agriculture and the military.


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Sharing many economic sectors, such as tourism, healthcare, and technology, with several other states impacts Arizona’s economy. Industries, including tourism, have been disrupted by COVID and other forces in Arizona. The state’s strong foundation in leisure and hospitality, combined with workforce issues and lack of healthcare access, has seen high unemployment claims.


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Another state heavily reliant on the tourism industry is Nevada, home to the entertainment capital of Las Vegas. Unemployment claims have skyrocketed since the closing of casinos, hotels, and tourist attractions across the state. Many people are still determining their job futures and how they can make ends meet.


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Louisiana’s economy is driven chiefly by its energy, petrochemicals, and significant tourism. It is a tough economy to keep because of the constant decline in energy prices and workforce there after the fall of oil prices and the decline, and lastly, the need for a way to keep up a few rises. A public health crisis affected Louisiana’s economy hard.

New Jersey

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New Jersey’s diverse economy, including finance, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing, has been susceptible to global market shifts and consumer behavior changes. The state’s proximity to large metropolitan areas, such as New York City, has exposed the state to the economic implications of responses to the global coronavirus pandemic and the impacts on major industries in these geographic regions.

Washington State

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Washington is known for its rugged coastline, technology companies, liberal politics, and economics. Recently, Washington’s industry has seen truckloads of layoffs, and subsequently, the unemployment rate has recently risen to 4.9%. Industries like technology and aerospace have been the rare exemption, with certain significant players cutting jobs as of late. Washington has also been hit in retail, hospitality, and other service sectors. Retailers, as well as consumers, have seen their ability to obtain credit become much more difficult.

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