Unemployment rates in most states dropped last month -- but the Covid-19 spike could reverse that

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pulled the plug on emergency Federal Reserve lending programs, drawing a rare rebuke from the central bank, which said they are needed to support the economy as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage. CNN's Matt Egan reports.

Posted: Nov 22, 2020 7:31 AM
Updated: Nov 22, 2020 7:31 AM

State-by-state unemployment rates fell in 37 states last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday. But the resurgence of Covid-19 infections could reverse the recent improvements.

The economy is still fragile after the record downturn in the first half of the year, and another hit doesn't bode well for 2021. JPMorgan became the first Wall Street bank on Friday to forecast a decline in gross domestic product -- the broadest measure of economic growth -- for the first quarter.

And that could reverse newly positive trends in unemployment. In October, labor market data was looking up: Illinois, for example, saw its jobless rate fall the most out of all states and the District of Columbia. It dropped by 3.6 percentage points, to 6.8% from 10.4%, in September on a seasonally adjusted basis.

That's a great development, but whether Illinois and other states can continue that trajectory is an open question.

Illinois's positivity rate for Covid-19 is currently at record highs and hospitalizations have surpassed the level reached in the spring, the state's government said when introducing its Tier 3 mitigation strategy. These restrictions, implemented Friday, limit gatherings and encourage people to stay home.

Economists are cautious not to read too much into monthly swings in economic data. But given the rising number of infections and the state of the overall economy, they see a clear risk for the coming months.

"As winter approaches I do anticipate an increase in unemployment across the food and beverage complex, leisure and hospitality industries, and transportation," said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM, who expects jobless rates to increase in select states because of the pandemic.

The health situation is deteriorating rapidly, forcing a growing number of small businesses to close, Gregory Daco, chief US economist at Oxford Economics, noted to CNN Business in an email.

"As virus fear resurges and local authorities gradually reimpose virus containment measures, mobility, activity and employment will falter," he added.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate fell to 6.9% in October. Improvements since the peak of 14.7% in the spring are undeniable. Even so, the country is still far from its pre-pandemic state and remains down some 10 million jobs from February.

Hawaii and Nevada, both of which rely heavily on tourism and hospitality, continue to have the highest unemployment rates in the country, at 14.3% and 12% respectively.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3543340

Reported Deaths: 49888
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118349620069
Riverside2885413695
San Bernardino2850812651
Orange2598573848
San Diego2578053218
Santa Clara1095061747
Kern102137786
Fresno945841397
Sacramento926211446
Alameda797961200
Ventura76947805
San Joaquin662901042
Contra Costa61865653
Stanislaus55487937
Tulare47680731
Monterey42016323
San Mateo38552502
San Francisco33947394
Santa Barbara31630398
Solano29882161
Merced28749393
Sonoma27845295
Imperial26840587
Kings21916218
Placer19661231
San Luis Obispo19500221
Madera15325201
Santa Cruz14516174
Marin13083197
Yolo12689185
Shasta10950172
Butte10855158
El Dorado906995
Napa895068
Sutter881896
San Benito572358
Yuba571936
Lassen559419
Tehama506852
Tuolumne392959
Nevada390974
Mendocino379043
Amador343840
Humboldt313633
Lake310740
Glenn220723
Colusa212513
Calaveras190225
Siskiyou172013
Inyo127835
Mono12084
Del Norte9765
Plumas6516
Modoc4504
Mariposa3937
Trinity3525
Sierra990
Alpine800
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 45°
Oroville
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 51°
Chico
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
Red Bluff
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 16°
Feels Like: 52°
Red Bluff
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 52°
Chico
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 45°
Strong wind continues to blow through the valley this afternoon, and will last through the evening. Thursday will still be a fairly breezy day, but the wind won't be as strong and our temperatures will be warmer. More wind is coming Friday and Saturday.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events