These states had the biggest COVID-19 unemployment spikes. This is where Pa. fell | Wednesday Morning Coffee

April 8, 2020 7:15 am

The Department of Labor and Industry’s unemployment webpage.

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Unemployment claims nationwide have skyrocketed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Pennsylvania, for instance, more than 1 million workers had filed claims by the end of last week. And the headlines are much the same in other states.

This morning, we’re turning to the financial literacy site WalletHub to get some idea of the scale of the issue across the country. Analysts there compared all 50 states and Washington D.C. across two, key metrics. They looked at unemployment increases for the week of March 23, 2020, compared to the week of March 23, 2019, and the first week of 2020.

Read on for the 10 worst hit states, and where Pennsylvania fits into the national picture.

Source: WalletHub

Based on those two reference points, and keeping in mind that claims have increased since March 23, Pennsylvania finished 28th nationwide in the WalletHub analysis.


(Capital-Star editorial cartoon by Tim Hartman)

Asked about the aftermath of the 3.3 million people who have filed claims, one expert said workers will have to get used to a new uncertainty in the job market.

“To begin with they will have to adjust to uncertainty. Even with increased unemployment payments, those will end and the same jobs with the same employers may not be available,” Joseph A. Alutto, an emeritus professor at Ohio State University, told WalletHub’s analysts. “I expect the economic recovery after major effects of the coronavirus have worked their way through the health of the nation will result in a slow recovery and not the quick spike many are predicting. Also, workforce demands will be different, with increased offsite operations having proved effective, this may allow firms to allocate funds differently. For example, in reduced support for ‘office space.’ But [it] also may encourage firms to supplement costs for the decentralized location of employees.”

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
Stephen Caruso and Elizabeth Hardison lead our coverage this morning, running down the details of a many-headed Hydra of a day under the dome, that saw lawmakers advance or approve bills intended to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. You’re gonna need your scorecard for this one.

An Erie County lawmaker has asked Attorney General Josh Shapiro and the state Health Department to investigate conditions at an Erie nursing home that were first brought to light by the Capital-StarCorrespondent Hannah McDonald, who broke the story, has the details.

A Montgomery County lawmaker had to apologize Tuesday after he was caught on a hot mic saying he liked the Pa. Senate’s virtual sessions because it allowed him to “stare daggers” at a female colleague.

Pennsylvania can expect more COVID-19 deaths — even if new cases slow, according to state Health Secretary Rachel LevineCaruso has the story.

First Lady Frances Wolf wants Pennsylvanians to step up and volunteer in the midst of the pandemic, Cassie Miller reports.

Employees at Allegheny County Jail tell our partners at the Pittsburgh Current that the facility’s management was unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic.

And our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune take a by-the-ZIP code look at COVID-19 infections in Pennsylvania’s largest city. And the outbreak has sent Mayor Jim Kenney back to the budgetary drawing board.

On our Commentary Page this morning, opinion regular Bruce Ledewitz muses aloud on who we’ll be after the pandemic ends, and how we’re going to get there. And Pa. should utilize nurse anesthetists in its COVID-19 response, an industry advocate argues.

The Philadelphia Skyline from the ‘Rocky Steps’ at the Philly Art Museum. Photo by Steve Lange, courtesy of Flickr Commons.

Philadelphia ordered 500K masks to protect first responders. They never arrived, the Inquirer reports.
Allegheny County’s infection rate is slower than the rest of the state, the Post-Gazette reports.
Plumbers, electricians and other home contractors are still working, PennLive reports.
Thousands of healthcare workers in the Lehigh Valley have been furloughed as coronavirus care is prioritized, the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:

New Jersey has shuttered state and county parks to protect against infections, WHYY-FM reports.
Volunteers in central Pa. are keeping Meals on Wheels rolling, the PA Post reports.
Competing hospitals are now cooperating to face the COVID-19 reports.
Pa. is still a toss-up in the November general election, PoliticsPA reports.
Voters rights advocates say Wisconsin’s chaotic election Tuesday is a warning shot for the rest of the country, Roll Call reports.

What Goes On.
The Senate gavels in at 11 a.m.
Time TBD: Daily COVID-19 briefing.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Belated best wishes go out this morning to Jeff Paladina, an attorney for state Department of Corrections, and GOP consultant Ray Zaborney, of Harrisburg, both of whom celebrated on Tuesday.  Hope it was as good a day as it could have been under our unique circumstances, gents.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a stone classic from Aussie legends The Go-Betweens. It’s ‘Streets of Your Town.’

Wednesday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link.
For the stats nerds among you, here’s a list of the greatest second basemen in every MLB team’s history.
Have fun debating this one this morning. We were nodding in agreement for a lot of them.

And now you’re up to date.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.