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Damage Report: Coronavirus’ Effect on Employment in Every State

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Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, the unemployment rate in the U.S. had been near a 50-year low. Jobs were still being added in January even after the first confirmed case appeared in the country. In fact, the unemployment rate dipped slightly in February to 3.5% from 3.6% in the previous month.

By March, though, President Donald Trump had declared a national emergency because of the outbreak. As states issued stay-at-home orders, the economy took a hit. The unemployment rate climbed to 4.4% in March as the number of unemployed workers jumped from 1.4 million to 7.1 million, and in April another 15 million-plus people lost their jobs, sending the unemployment rate soaring to 14.7%. Since then, though, things appear to be bouncing back significantly — at least on paper. While there remains debate over just how to measure unemployment in the present situation, the national rate of 10.7% shows that things have improved significantly in a matter of months — something you can rarely say when you’re looking at double-digit unemployment.

Although job losses have been widespread, some industries have been hit harder than others, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And a GOBankingRates analysis has found that certain states have seen their unemployment rates spike higher than others.

For this study, GOBankingRates measured the early effects of the coronavirus on employment in every state using data from the BLS. First, GOBankingRates found the year-over-year change in the unemployment rate in every state from July 2019 to July 2020. Then, it found the change in the unemployment rate from January 2020, before the coronavirus crisis began to impact the U.S. economy, through the end of July.

The states were then ranked from smallest to largest in terms of how much the unemployment rate increased from January to July. Find out if your state was among the hardest hit, and see which states have a better chance of bouncing back from the coronavirus unemployment crisis.

Last updated: Aug. 25, 2020

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50. Kentucky

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 4.3%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 5.7%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 32.56%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.3%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 32.56%
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49. Nebraska

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 4.8%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 54.84%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.9%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 65.52%
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48. Louisiana

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 4.7%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 9.4%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 100.00%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 5.3%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 77.36%
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47. Idaho

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 2.9%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 5.0%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 72.41%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.8%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 78.57%
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46. Utah

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 2.5%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 4.5%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 80.00%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.5%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 80.00%
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45. Montana

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 6.4%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 82.86%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 82.86%

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44. South Dakota

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 6.3%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 90.91%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.4%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 85.29%
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43. Wyoming

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 7.1%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 91.89%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 91.89%
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42. Alaska

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 6.2%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 11.6%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 87.10%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 6.0%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 93.33%
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41. Mississippi

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 5.5%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 10.8%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 96.36%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 5.5%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 96.36%
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40. Missouri

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.2%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 6.9%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 115.63%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 97.14%
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39. West Virginia

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 4.8%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 9.9%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 106.25%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 5.0%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 98.00%

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38. Wisconsin

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.4%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 7.0%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 105.88%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 100.00%
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37. Arkansas

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.6%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 7.1%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 97.22%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 102.86%
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36. Oklahoma

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 7.1%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 115.15%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 115.15%
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35. Ohio

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 4.2%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 8.9%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 111.90%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.1%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 117.07%
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34. Texas

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 8.0%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 128.57%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 128.57%
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33. Michigan

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 4.1%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 8.7%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 112.20%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.8%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 128.95%
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32. Maryland

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.6%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 7.6%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 111.11%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 130.30%
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31. Kansas

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 7.2%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 132.26%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 132.26%

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30. Arizona

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 4.7%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 10.6%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 125.53%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.5%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 135.56%
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29. Iowa

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 2.7%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 6.6%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 144.44%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.8%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 135.71%
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28. North Carolina

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.9%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 8.5%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 117.95%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.6%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 136.11%
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27. Minnesota

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.2%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 7.7%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 140.63%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.2%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 140.63%
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26. Georgia

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.4%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 7.6%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 123.53%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 145.16%
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25. Indiana

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.2%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 7.8%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 143.75%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 151.61%
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24. Delaware

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.8%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 10.4%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 173.68%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.0%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 160.00%

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23. Washington

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 4.2%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 10.3%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 145.24%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.9%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 164.10%
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22. New Mexico

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 4.8%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 12.7%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 164.58%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.8%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 164.58%
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21. Connecticut

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 10.2%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 175.68%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 175.68%
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20. North Dakota

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 2.4%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 6.6%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 175.00%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.3%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 186.96%
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19. Tennessee

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.4%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 9.5%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 179.41%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 187.88%
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18. Pennsylvania

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 4.3%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 13.7%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 218.60%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.7%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 191.49%
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17. Alabama

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 2.8%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 7.9%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 182.14%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.7%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 192.59%
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16. Colorado

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 2.7%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 7.4%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 174.07%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.5%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 196.00%

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15. Virginia

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 2.7%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 8.0%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 196.30%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.7%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 196.30%
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14. New Hampshire

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 2.6%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 8.1%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 211.54%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.6%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 211.54%
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13. Oregon

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 10.4%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 181.08%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 215.15%
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12. Maine

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 2.9%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 9.9%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 241.38%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 219.35%
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11. Illinois

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.9%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 11.3%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 189.74%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 222.86%
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10. Rhode Island

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.6%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 11.2%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 211.11%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.4%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 229.41%
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9. California

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 4.0%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 13.3%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 232.50%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.9%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 241.03%

Find Out: Before It Became the Norm, Which States Had the Most Remote Workers?

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8. Vermont

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 2.4%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 8.3%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 245.83%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.4%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 245.83%
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7. South Carolina

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 2.7%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 8.6%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 218.52%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.4%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 258.33%
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6. New Jersey

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 13.8%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 318.18%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.8%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 263.16%
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5. Nevada

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.9%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 14.0%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 258.97%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.6%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 288.89%
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4. Florida

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 11.3%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 264.52%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.8%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 303.57%
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3. New York

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 3.9%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 15.9%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 307.69%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.8%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 318.42%
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2. Hawaii

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 2.7%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 13.1%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 385.19%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.7%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 385.19%
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1. Massachusetts

Unemployment year over year

  • July 2019 unemployment rate: 2.9%
  • July 2020 unemployment rate: 16.1%
  • Year-over-year percentage change in unemployment rate: 455.17%

Unemployment in Q1 2020

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.8%
  • Percentage change in unemployment rate by end of July: 475.00%

More From GOBankingRates

Cameron Huddleston contributed to the reporting for this article.

Methodology: GOBankingRates measured the effects of coronavirus on employment in every state in three ways. First, GOBankingRates found the year-over-year change in the unemployment rate in every state from July 2019 to July 2020. Second, GOBankingRates found the change in the unemployment rate from January 2020 (before the coronavirus crisis began to significantly impact U.S. employment) to July 2020. Finally, GOBankingRates found the change in unemployment from the highest point during the COVID-19 pandemic to July 2020. Each change was measured both as the percentage point change in the unemployment rate and as a percent of the unemployment rate in the period of comparison. July 2019, January 2020, the highest rate during COVID-19, and July 2020 unemployment rate in every state were sourced from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Local Area Unemployment Statistics. All data was collected on and up to date as of Aug. 21, 2020.