COVID-19, Industry Mix and the Growth of Initial UI Claims across States

Junjie Guo

Executive Summary:

In its latest news release on unemployment insurance (UI) weekly claims, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reported that, relative to the prior week, the number of initial claims increased significantly by 70,000 in the week ending on March 14, 2020. The report noted that the increase “are clearly attributable to impacts from the COVID-19 virus. A number of states specifically cited COVID-19 related layoffs, while many states reported increased layoffs in service related industries broadly and in the accommodation and food services industries specifically, as well as in the transportation and warehousing industry, whether COVID-19 was identified directly or not.”
We evaluate this assessment quantitatively.

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