Unemployment Drop Due to Fewer States with Lockdowns

June 5, 2020

The numbers are out: US unemployment for May (13.3%) is down from April’s high (14.7%). But what’s the state-based story behind this drop? Here’s a graph with the newest numbers by state reflecting up to May 16, 2020, available from the US Dept of Labor. I’ve grouped them into the lockdown status of that state as of May 16, 2020.

The drop in unemployment is almost entirely due to drops in states with lockdowns that have indefinite end dates and states that were partially or fully open as of May 16, 2020, with a bit of the drop coming from states that never had formal lockdown orders. The insured unemployment rate in states that were closed as of May 16, 2020 remained flat.