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The hustle and bustle of tourists along the Las Vegas Strip has been replaced by shuttered hotels, shops, and casinos. The damage to U.S. tourism is so great that Nevada now leads the entire nation with a 28.2% unemployment rate in April—a figure that is greater than the 25.6% peak U.S. jobless rate during the Great Depression.
The national unemployment rate sits at 14.7%, however, 17 states have surpassed that, according to data state unemployment figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.
Michigan is among the hardest hit by the coronavirus with over 5,000 deaths. And it has seen quite an economic shock with its unemployment rate rising from 4.1% in March to 22.7% in April—the second highest jobless rate in the nation.
The third highest rate is in another state well known for its tourism: Hawaii at 22.3%. It was followed by Rhode Island at 17% and Indiana at 16.9%.
Despite a huge coronavirus outbreak, Connecticut actually has the lowest rate in the country at 7.9%. The state’s economy leans heavily toward insurance and finance—industries that haven’t been as battered as tourism or aerospace.
And New York, which leads the nation in COVID-19 deaths, has a 14.5% jobless rate, which is slightly below the 14.7% national level. But even that isn’t something to cheer, considering New York’s unemployment rate was just 4.5% in March.
But the real unemployment rates are actually much higher. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics rate for April goes through just mid-April. Since then, another 12.2 million Americans have already claimed unemployment benefits.
And the official unemployment rate undercounts actual joblessness, given that only out-of-work Americans who are searching for new positions are categorized as unemployed. That divide may be particularly pronounced right now as many unemployed Americans are choosing to wait out the virus and stay-at-home orders before starting their search.