As the next wave of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across America, the big question is, what will the impact be on American businesses and the employees who keep those businesses running.

Since the start of the pandemic, RDS has been reporting on the U.S. unemployment story through an extensive menu of interactive data visualizations via its Tableau Public page. With this post, we’ll update you on the most recent workbook covering available data for October.

The lead story, of course, is that the national unemployment rate has dropped to 6.9% in October, down a full percentage point from September. Recall, the rate was 14.7%, reached during the first wave of the pandemic in April. But October’s rate is still nearly twice that of January’s rate of 3.6%

The rate in the Leisure and Hospitality industry hovers at 16.3%, down from its April high of 39.3%. But the industry’s current rate is still almost three times higher than where it started in January, 5.9%.

In terms of the pandemics impact on specific occupations, the hardest hit still, far and away, remains Food Service, with a national unemployment rate of 15.9% in October. While indeed down from its April high of 41.8%, the food service unemployment rate is still 2 1/2 times its January rate of 6.9%.

By age, younger Americans are still disproportionally impacted by COVID. The unemployment rate for those 16-24 stands at 11.7% in October, down from its high of 27.4% in April.

While the overall unemployment rate has continue to fall since the April high, it is worth noting that initial unemployment claims by month remain essentially flat. In October, there were 3.246 million claims, a slight drop from September’s 3.317 million claim. For perspective, however, initial unemployment claims in October, 2020, are nearly four times higher than a year ago (October 2019: 898,505).

We will continue to update these reports as data comes in, especially with regard to initial claims which will serve as a bellwether for the overall unemployment story moving forward.

In the meantime, if you’d like to take a closer look at any of our interactive visualizations, check our out Recovery Decision Science page on Tableau Public.