New Hampshire’s Covid-19 unemployment rate tops 17%

Restaurants, retail remain hardest-hit sectors

Ap 20107683994269As New Hampshire’s economy begins to reopen, initial unemployment claims keep pouring in, though at a lesser rate, bringing the state’s coronavirus-related unemployment rate to 17.1%, according to New Hampshire Employment Security’s analysis of claims filed between March 15 and May 2.

Waterville Valley, the resort area and the home of Gov. Chris Sununu’s family business, had the highest rate in the state, a whopping 46.8%. When it comes to counties, tourism-dependent Carroll County had the highest rate, 26.6%. Rockingham County’s rate was 15%, but that rate is likely to be as many as four points higher, since it doesn’t include New Hampshire residents laid off in Massachusetts or Maine, according to the analysis.

Restaurants, which will be allowed to open up to outdoors dining next week, has been the hardest-hit economic sector, with 22,000 filings. Retail was next, with nearly 20,000 (new car dealers accounting for 2,600 of those), and health care was third at nearly 15,400.

All told, some 173,000 workers filed for benefits during the time period, but 116,600 were actually collecting unemployment during the week ending May 2. Some were denied benefits, and others may have gone back to work.

Last week, the week ending May 9, there were another 9,491 initial claims filed, bringing the total to 182,925 since the pandemic first hit the state.

The good news is that the number of initial claims keeps on going down. The initial number last week was 24% lower than the 12,475 filed during the week ending May 2, but that’s still almost 20 times the number of weekly claims filed before the pandemic-induced recession. Nationally, weekly new claims fell well, but by 8%. In seven states, led by Connecticut, claims went up.

Nearly 3 million Americans filed initial claims last week, bringing the total to 36.5 million. That will add to the national unemployment rate, which was 14.7% in April. The federal Department of Labor is scheduled to release state-specific April rates next week.

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