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Coronavirus-related job losses continued to climb last week, and in some states unemployment rates are skyrocketing, which is causing experts to warn that losses may no longer be solely attributable to economic shutdown measures.
An additional 2.4 million Americans filed jobless claims last week, bringing the total to more than 38 million during the past 9 weeks.
But the situation is worse in some states when compared with others, new data from Deutsche Bank Research shows. In Georgia and Kentucky, for example, the jobless rates are near 40 percent, which is the highest in the United States.
The unemployment rate in Washington was slightly higher than 30 percent, while rates in Louisiana, Michigan, Rhode Island, Nevada and Pennsylvania were just below that level.
On the other hand, residents in Utah and South Dakota appeared to be faring better than the rest of the country. Unemployment rates were below 10 percent.
Since March, job openings have fallen by nearly 30 percent, according to a new report from job search website GlassDoor. About 70 percent of employers had fewer available positions.
Torsten Slok, Deutsche Bank Securities chief economist, said in a note that the persistent rise in jobless claims may no longer be attributable to the economic shutdown or backlogged claims being processed. Instead, it may signify a permanent shift for workers who were employed in industries that required a high level of face-to-face interaction.
Some experts have warned in the early weeks of the pandemic that jobs lost in industries hit hardest by the virus could be replaced with automation. Researchers from the Brookings Institution predicted that the economic shock might accelerate the adoption of technology as employers shed less-skilled workers.
The Brookings Institute has identified about 36 million jobs as having a high risk of being automated, including accommodation and food services, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, and agriculture.
The national unemployment rate increased to 14.7 percent in April, which is the highest amount since the Great Depression. However, given the continued increase in jobless claims, many experts are now predicting the number could be worse-than-expected in May.
The CARES Act lifted unemployment benefits by $600 for up to four months. Some workers, therefore, are earning more in unemployment than their jobs would have regularly paid.