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Why Pennsylvania Had Far More Jobless Claims Than Other States

  • Earlier shutdown, encouragement to file may have been factors
  • Manufacturing woes meant some people were ‘ready to file’
A lone pedestrian crosses at 8th and Market streets in Philadelphia, Penn. on March 24.

A lone pedestrian crosses at 8th and Market streets in Philadelphia, Penn. on March 24.

Photographer: Heather Khalifa/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP

Of the 3.3 million Americans applying for unemployment last week amid coronavirus shutdowns, the biggest share by far came from Pennsylvania, the fifth-largest state -- but it may be just a sign that many more filings are to come.

It’s not clear if there was one overriding reason for the disparity, but there are several plausible explanations: The governor shut down business before other states, officials encouraged and made it easier for residents to apply for benefits, and administrators may be processing claims faster.