Lousiana in the Bullseye of the COVID-19 Economic Crisis

New weekly unemployment insurance claims have come down slightly from last week's record-setting levels. Looking at the unemployment insurance data and data on confirmed COVID-19 cases, Louisiana is being severely impacted from both a health and economic perspective.

For the week ending April 4, 2020, another 6.6 million workers filed unemployment insurance (UI) claims, as economists anticipated. Last week’s claim volume results from massive backlogs in initial states hit by the coronavirus, such as California and New York, as well as the fact that the industries impacted by the economic shutdown employ large numbers of people. Further, last week’s numbers should include data for those states which instituted shelter in place orders later than other states, like Florida, Texas and Georgia.2 Additionally, last week’s claims also includes the self-employed and contract laborers, who, thanks to the CARES Act enacted on March 27, 2020, are now eligible for temporary UI benefits.

COVID-19 Infection Rates

The map below plots the COVID-19 new cases per 100,000 persons as of April 4. New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Rhode Island and Idaho comprise the 10 states with the highest rates of infection, 3 of which are in the Heartland. Though Michigan has a higher total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 (14,225), Louisiana leads the Heartland with an infection rate of 197.5 cases per 100,000 for reasons described in more detail below.


Unemployment Claims Filed

The state with the highest unemployment claims last week is California, with over 925,000 claims, followed by Georgia (over 388,000 claims), Michigan (almost 385,000 claims), New York (354,000 claims) and Texas (nearly 314,000 claims). While unemployment claims in some states are related to COVID-19 outbreaks, the relationship between COVID-19 cases and unemployment insurance claims continues to deteriorate. Across the Heartland region, 2.3 million claims were filed last week, which represents 37 percent of claims filed. After Michigan and Texas, Ohio (224,000 claims), Illinois (201,000 claims) and Indiana (134,000 claims) round out the 5 highest level of new claims in the region.

Read the rest of the piece at Heartland Forward.