Unemployment claims highest in Kentucky, two other states

8 May 2020 - WVLT (Knoxville, TN)

Three states have been hit particularly hard when it comes to the unemployment crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to CNN, more than 30 percent of the March labor force in Kentucky, Hawaii and Georgia filed initial claims for unemployment benefits.

The Department of Labor said Thursday 671,288 Kentuckians have filed initials claims for unemployment during the last seven weeks. That's about 33 percent of the state's March labor force.

CNN said the state government's restrictions, implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus, weighed heavily on Kentucky's economy, which relies on manufacturing. Those types of jobs are 12.9 percent of the state's total non-farm employment, according to Michael Clark, the associate director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Kentucky.

"Those are jobs that are harder to work remotely, maybe simply impossible to work remotely," Clark told CNN Business. "They're going to be subject to greater job losses during these times of restrictions."

In mid-March, Ford and Toyota stopped production and temporarily laid off thousands. Clark said that when large businesses close, it causes a ripple effect impacting smaller suppliers.

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