Pandemic job losses hit tourism-dependent states hardest




  • In US
  • 2020-05-22 20:16:47Z
  • By Associated Press
Pandemic job losses hit tourism-dependent states hardest
Pandemic job losses hit tourism-dependent states hardest  

HONOLULU (AP) - The coronavirus pandemic has been particularly brutal to the tourism-dependent economies of Nevada and Hawaii, lifting the unemployment rate in both states to about one-quarter of the workforce.

Nevada topped the nation with an April unemployment rate of 28.2%, the worst any state has seen since the national jobless rate was estimated at 25% in 1933 during the depths of the Great Depression, state officials said Friday.

"They are sobering numbers, far in excess of anything we have experienced as a state before now," said David Schmidt, chief economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

Michigan came in second with 22.7% and Hawaii third with 22.3% In Michigan, job losses were spread across all sectors, with especially large losses in hospitality and manufacturing.

Nationally, the job market and the economy have fallen into their worst crisis in decades. More than 2.4 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week in the latest wave of layoffs from the viral outbreak that triggered widespread business shutdowns two months ago.

All told, nearly 39 million people have filed for jobless aid since the coronavirus forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their workforces. The stream of layoffs reflects an economy gripped by the deepest recession since the Great Depression. The national jobless rate stood at 14.7%

In Nevada, both casinos and other non-essential businesses have been closed since mid-March.

In Hawaii, most hotels shut down in late March as the state began requiring all travelers arriving in the state to observe 14 days of quarantine. Restaurants switched to take-out only and retailers closed their doors to comply with social distancing requirements imposed to curb the spread of the virus.

Grayden Ha'i-Kelly's family on the Kona Coast of Hawaii's Big Island is among those grappling with sudden unemployment. Both he and his wife work for hotels that temporarily closed during the last week of March.

Ha'i-Kelly has been using up vacation time since and was getting paid through last week.

His wife filed for unemployment benefits right away, but she had to wait about five weeks for her first check to arrive. The state has blamed delays in unemployment benefit payments on a surge of applications and outdated computer systems.

He's glad they both didn't apply for unemployment at the same time. Not having both incomes "would have been tough," he said. He's applying for unemployment this week.

Ha'i-Kelly said the pandemic has taught his family some life lessons, like slowing down more in life, strengthening the family and taking care of others. One thing they have been doing is waking up at 5 a.m. three times a week to go to a local eatery to help prepare food for those in need.

"These are some of the lessons I've been trying to teach my children. This is how we grew up. Things weren't always easy," he said.

The unemployment rate was relatively low before the pandemic in all top three states, underscoring the dramatic shift in fortunes for their workers.

Nevada's stood at an all-time-low of 3.6% in February. In Michigan, the jobless rate was 4.3% in March. Hawaii's was 2.4% last month.

And though the number of jobless surged across the nation, some states fared much better. Connecticut had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 7.9%, followed by Minnesota at 8.1% and Nebraska at 8.3%

___

Sonner reported from Reno, Nevada.

COMMENTS

More Related News

McConnell and Pelosi
McConnell and Pelosi's next battle: How to help the 40 million unemployed

The divide over jobless benefits will dominate the fight over a new coronavirus aid package.

The Hawaii navy base fueling Trump
The Hawaii navy base fueling Trump's quest for 'super duper' missiles
  • World
  • 2020-05-31 05:00:03Z

Kauai has one of the Pentagon's most valued testing sites. It's an economic driver, but some residents say the military shouldn't be on the islands at allHawaii's "garden island", Kauai, is known for its breathtaking scenery and laid-back vibe, a place of plunging waterfalls and cliffs cloaked in green tropical forests. But beyond its beauty it is one of the Pentagon's most valued testing and training sites in the Pacific.In Hawaii, where the military is the second-largest economic driver, after tourism, weapons testing and training enjoy widespread support, but some residents view the islands' highly militarized state as misguided or even illegal.In missile defense circles, Kauai is...

US workers face an unequal future when virus recedes
US workers face an unequal future when virus recedes

As the coronavirus worked its way across the United States, it cleaved the country's workforce in two: those who have the ability to work from home, and those who do not. From baristas to hotel workers to tourism operators, people whose job requires them to show up in-person were among the hardest hit in the waves of layoffs, and also those on the low end of the US pay scale. Unemployment is now at a level not seen in since the Great Depression nearly a century ago, and moving higher, while the coronavirus is expected to threaten the country for months to come, factors analysts fear will only serve to deepen inequality for workers in the world's largest economy.

How scammers are using unemployment claims to cash in
How scammers are using unemployment claims to cash in

Michigan and other states have begun delaying some jobless claims to crack down on schemes by international fraud rings to steal benefits.

$1,200 Checks? $450 Bonuses? The Latest on the Next Coronavirus Lifeline
$1,200 Checks? $450 Bonuses? The Latest on the Next Coronavirus Lifeline

Congress has provided a lifeline for millions of Americans hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, providing a boost to incomes via one-time direct payments and implementing a range of other emergency programs to prevent more widespread financial hardship, joblessness and hunger."This summer," writes Ben Casselman at The New York Times, "that lifeline could snap."As states continue to reopen and Congress considers the contours of a next coronavirus relief package, many of the unprecedented steps taken to help businesses and consumers weather the pandemic and economic shutdown are set to expire, creating uncertainty for those who have benefited - and for the economy overall."The $1,200 checks...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US