A few weeks ago, in a blog post entitled Flattening the Economy, we looked at the likely effects of the COVID-19 shutdown on unemployment in several major cities. In the two weeks since then, those seeking unemployment insurance in the U.S. hit 10 million claims and it is clear that the extended shutdown will have ever increasing impacts on the employment of millions of Americans over the coming weeks.

In that post, we wondered about how an unemployment map might look if this lockdown lasted more than a few weeks. We expected minimal job loss in certain occupations – management, technical and scientific positions, protective services, and materials transportation. But we expected massive job loss in retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. We have significantly refined our approach to these estimates by refining our expectations of relative impacts using a much broader occupation definition and more attention to the existing regional differences in employment.

Starting today, we will be releasing updated weekly unemployment estimates via download through our API, Snapshot, at block group, ZIP code, and county levels of geography. We are using the weekly unemployment reports from the Department of Labor which tracks new unemployment claims by state, with results released each Friday for the week ending the prior Saturday. After four weeks of analysis, we believe that the weekly changes over the next several months warrant a weekly release. The maps below show the dramatic changes in just one month in the New York area. We are using February 21, 2020 as our base week, shown below. Additionally shown below are the maps from March 14, 2020 and March 21, 2020.

Unemployment Claims, February 21, 2020

Unemployment Claims, March 14, 2020

Unemployment Claims, March 21, 2020

We hope that these maps and datasets can be found useful by researchers analyzing the economic impacts of COVID-19, or as a supplement to our semi-annual demographic releases in this rapidly evolving crisis. These datasets may be freely downloaded for research use, but may not be resold without written permission from AGS. You can find the new data here.

Published works utilizing this dataset should identify the source as: Applied Geographic Solutions, Inc., Thousand Oaks, California and reference the weekly release as indicated by the last date field in the file.