Take a look at how COVID-19 has impacted the job market

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It was only six or seven weeks ago when the economy was humming along, and employers were desperate to find workers to fill jobs.

How quickly things have changed. The graphs below show the weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance in New York State. It’s pretty stable through February and the first part of March. But then, boom. The number of people seeking unemployment more than tripled from the week ending March 14 to the week ending March 21.

It got worse from there.

The numbers continued to climb, as did the complaints from thousands of New Yorkers who couldn’t get through to the New York State Labor Department to file a claim. The department’s phone and computer systems crashed under the strain.

The jobless claims also skyrocketed across the nation.

By the week ending March 21, initial unemployment claims climbed from a quarter million to almost three million Americans. It got worse over the next three weeks.

For comparison, we looked up data for jobless claims filed in New York State for the same 12 week period in 2009, during what was called the Great Recession, which officially lasted from December of 2007 until June of 2009. While that economic meltdown spanned a period of 18 months, the job losses associated with COVID-19 came suddenly and over a matter of weeks.

Here are all of our charts on this subject.


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