Unemployment Rates Across The Mountain West Soar

May 12, 2020
Originally published on May 12, 2020 12:05 pm

At the end of April, the national unemployment rate hit 14.7% – the highest rate since the Great Depression. On CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett predicted the rate will exceed 20% when the Department of Labor issues May's numbers.

Nevada's already there according to weekly data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the state's insured unemployment rate at 19.9% for the week ending April 18, the fifth highest rate in the country. The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation puts that rate at 22% – "the highest insured unemployment rate in state history."

(The insured unemployment rate is a different calculation than the unemployment rate. The Nevada Independent explains the difference here.)

The gaming industry's shutdown in particular has dealt Nevada's economy a devastating blow.

Elsewhere in the Mountain West, Montana's insured unemployment rate stood at 14.8%, while Utah's 6% ranked as the lowest in the region.

The novel coronavirus pandemic's economic wrecking ball has crushed the region's tourism industry, while an unprecedented collapse in oil prices has companies slashing production and jobs from the Permian Basin in New Mexico to the Bakken in Montana and North Dakota.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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