As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on the economy, the number of initial unemployment insurance claims remains elevated but has declined sharply from its peak in early April. In the week ending April 25, initial claims in Arkansas were 16,745 (preliminary), down from 25,404 (revised) the previous week. During the week ending April 4, initial claims peaked at 62,086. The latest figure represents a 73% decline from that peak. Continuing claims (insured unemployment) have risen from approximately 11,000 in mid-March to 106,460 in the week ended April 18.
By comparison, U.S. initial claims peaked a week earlier than in Arkansas and have not declined as rapidly since. In the week ended April 25, U.S. initial claims were down only 44% from their peak in the week ending March 28. U.S. continuing claims (insured employment) have risen from 1.78 million in the week ending March 14 to 18.0 million in the week ending April 25.
Expressed relative to total covered employment, the continuing claims data are used to calculate the Insured Unemployment Rate (available at the state level with a one-week lag). In the week ending April 11, the Insured Unemployment rate in Arkansas was 7.6%. During the same period, the U.S. rate was 10.9%. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Insured Unemployment Rate was 1.2% nationwide and less than 1% in Arkansas.