National & state historic unemployment claims

Track weekly unemployment claims in every state since 1964.

Published on Fri, April 17, 2020 3:55PM PDT | Updated Mon, October 26, 2020 10:07AM PDT

Workers have filed for unemployment benefits in record numbers ever since the COVID-19 outbreak hit the United States.

Scroll through more than 40 years of unemployment claims data from the US Department of Labor in the bar chart below. To understand the extent of these claim numbers, it's best to look at some historic metrics.

Weekly Unemployment Insurance Claims

1-year view
10-year view
Since 1967
Initial claims
Continuing claims
Recessions highlighted in gray

Unemployment insurance is a joint state-federal program that provides benefits to eligible workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Requirements and benefits vary by state. The table below shows how the number of people receiving benefits has changed in the past year in the 50 states, the Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.

State Latest Unemployment Rate
September 2020
Initial Unemployment Claims (latest)
Initial Unemployment Claims (four weeks before)
Initial Unemployment Claims (six months before)
Initial Unemployment Claims (one year before)
Alabama 9.9%
Alaska 12.6%
Arizona 8.9%
Arkansas 9.5%
California 16.3%
Colorado 10.2%
Connecticut 9.4%
Delaware 15.8%
District of Columbia 8.9%
Florida 14.5% NA NA
Georgia 9.7%
Hawaii 22.6%
Idaho 8.9%
Illinois 15.2%
Indiana 12.3%
Iowa 10.0%
Kansas 10.0%
Kentucky 11.0%
Louisiana 13.3%
Maine 9.3%
Maryland 9.9%
Massachusetts 16.3%
Michigan 21.2%
Minnesota 9.9%
Mississippi 10.6%
Missouri 10.1%
Montana 9.0%
Nebraska 5.2%
Nevada 25.3%
New Hampshire 14.5%
New Jersey 15.2%
New Mexico 9.2%
New York 14.5%
North Carolina 12.9%
North Dakota 9.1%
Ohio 13.7%
Oklahoma 12.6%
Oregon 14.2%
Pennsylvania 13.1%
Puerto Rico N/A
Rhode Island 16.3%
South Carolina 12.5%
South Dakota 9.4%
Tennessee 11.3%
Texas 13.0%
Utah 8.5%
Vermont 12.7%
Virginia 9.4%
Washington 15.1%
West Virginia 12.9%
Wisconsin 12.0%
Wyoming 8.8%

Unemployment insurance claims differ from the unemployment rate, which refers to the share of the labor force without jobs and currently looking for one. People who are counted in the unemployment rate, compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, may not be receiving unemployment benefits. Unemployment rate data is usually released monthly and is less up to date than weekly unemployment claims data.

National unemployment rate

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The average weekly unemployment benefit is $356. The CARES Act, passed to support people who have lost employment for reasons related to COVID-19, provides an additional $600 per week through July 31, 2020.

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The new legislation also extends the length of time a person may receive unemployment insurance benefits. Though benefits vary by state, most states offer 26 weeks. Under the CARES Act, an additional 13 weeks of unemployment insurance are provided after the normal state benefits are exhausted, meaning most states will provide 39 weeks. This will apply through December 31, 2020. The legislation also extends coverage to contractors and self-employed workers.

In 2018, the average unemployed worker claimed 15 weeks through the unemployment insurance program. During the 2008 recession, the average rose to 19 weeks.

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