One in every six employable New Yorkers is without a job.
Most recent numbers released by the state Department of Labor indicate 1.84 million residents filed initial jobless claims in the eight weeks since March 14.
The most recent total represents an increase of 198,000 over the previous week. Statewide, the labor force was measured at 9.44 million in March.
Across the nation, only California has had more people — 4.83 million —make first-time claims.
Labor specialists, assessing jobless claims numbers since mid-March, are predicting a New York jobless rate of 13% for April, and that may be a conservative estimate.
“Some analysts have speculated that the conventional unemployment rate might have reached Great Depression levels," said Russell Weaver, an economic geographer with Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations Buffalo Co-Lab.
In April 2019, 418,000 New Yorkers were registered as unemployed, and the jobless rate stood at 3.6%, according to state records.
A return to similar numbers in the wake of the economic collapse caused by the virus may take years.
What the latest unemployment numbers in New York show
Weaver said early estimates of the economic devastation from the spread of the cronavirus "provide critical new evidence of the scale of the challenges we face as we begin to plan for economic recovery.”
How many of the newly unemployed will be rehired when the shutdown restrictions ease across New York is unknown, leaving analysts speculating about pandemic's the long-range impact on the state and national economy.
A stay-at-home order in New York expires May 15, and parts of the state may slowly start to reopen thereafter, based on their rate of virus' spread.
In the short-term, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the avalanche of unemployment claims is costing the state billions of dollars in an unanticipated claims, putting pressure on already beleaguered budget.
At the peak of the recent Great Recession, state unemployment reached at 9.6% in January 2010, with 913,000 jobless.
Number of jobless on the rise
The list of companies filing COVID-rated layoff notices with New York expands daily.
By Thursday, the count was 1,222 employers filing Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications since mid-March, outpacing the combined total for the past three years.
For comparison, 346 notices were filed in all of 2019, 433 in 2018, and 321 in 2017.
And that only counts enterprises with 50 or more workers that are required to register job cuts. Uncounted in the total are a host of other smaller businesses with layoffs.
WARN requires that companies with 50 full-time employees or more file a notice of a mass layoff or a closing 90 days in advance. But under these strained conditions, the 90-day advance warning has been lifted.
First time jobless claims by region in the eight weeks since March 14:
– Capital: 77,161
– Central NY: 66,592
– Finger Lakes: 94,813
– Hudson Valley: 167,241
– Long Island: 261,091
– Mohawk Valley: 34,726
– NYC: 831,099
– North Country: 27,577
– Southern Tier: 46,633
– Western NY: 139,574
– Out-of-state: 94, 259
Workers in the accommodation and food service fields account for the largest share of the total over the eight week period, 337,000, followed by retail, trade, 238,000 and health care and social assistance, 203,000, according to statistics collected by the state labor department.
As the economy reels from the coronavirus, more than 33 million people have applied for benefits nationally in a mere seven weeks, a tally that signals what is almost certain to be the worst-ever unemployment rate when the government reports that figure Friday.
Roughly 3.2 million people filed for unemployment last week alone, the Labor Department said Thursday.
That was fewer than the 3.8 million who filed the week before and down from the all-time high of 6.86 million applications in late March.
But the number who sought assistance through March and April exceeds all the jobs created since the Great Recession. And April is expected to emerge as one of the worst months ever for American workers.
Nationally, unemployment is expected to have spiked to a record 15% to 20%, a confirmation of the toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on the economy.
"We expect to see historically large declines across most industries, particularly those hardest hit by social distancing measures and the closure of nonessential businesses, and for which remote work is inaccessible," said Dante DeAntonio, an economist at Moody’s Analytics.