Crisis begins to hit professional and public-sector jobs once considered safe (WaPo)

As the novel coronavirus pandemic brought business to a halt, the pain rippled outward, blowing up sector after sector. According to a detailed analysis of unemployment claims, no industry was left untouched.

After that first chaotic week of lockdowns mid-March, as officials scrambled to slow the spread of the deadliest pandemic in more than a century, restaurants and theaters saw job losses slow while losses in other sectors, such as construction and supply-chain work, accelerated. Now, it appears the economic upheaval is hitting professional and public-sector jobs that some once regarded as safe.

The Labor Department doesn’t release jobless claims by industry. So, building on the work of economist Ben Zipperer and his colleagues at the Economic Policy Institute, we analyzed industry-specific new unemployment-benefit claims from 14 states that publish them. (For a full list, see the charts below.)

By looking at claims for the past five weeks as a share of each industry’s employment, we see who has been hit hardest — more than 1 in 4 food-service workers filed for unemployment from March 15 through April 18. But that doesn’t tell us as much about how the pandemic labor market evolved from one week to the next…

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