Unemployment Rates During the COVID-19 Pandemic: In Brief [Updated November 6, 2020] [open pdf - 2MB]
From the Introduction: "The National Bureau of Economic Research declared the start of the current economic downturn in February 2020, marking the end of the longest period of expansion in U.S. history. This expansion followed the Great Recession (December 2007 to June 2009), a downturn widely considered to be the worst since the Great Depression (August 1929 to March 1933). The unemployment rate rose quickly in March 2020, and by April 2020 it had greatly surpassed its previous peaks observed during and just after the Great Recession. [...] This report discusses recent unemployment rate patterns at the national and state levels using Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. The two primary sources are the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program. In addition to the usual caveats about estimates (see 'General Data Caveats'), there were additional data challenges caused by the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic (see 'COVID-19 Related Data Issues')."
CRS Report for Congress, R46554
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/