Despite the fact that many states have been hit by a surge in COVID-19 cases, new unemployment claims decreased week-over-week on November 23, and were 90% below the peak during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help add some context to these statistics, WalletHub just released updated rankings for theStates Whose Weekly Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest, along with accompanying videos and audio files.
To identify which states' workforces are experiencing the quickest recovery from COVID-19, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three metrics based on changes in unemployment claims. Below, you can see highlights from the report, along with a WalletHub Q&A. To see the states most recovered since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.
|Most Recovered Last Week||Least Recovered Last Week|
|1. Oklahoma||42. Minnesota|
|2. Wyoming||43. Alaska|
|3. South Dakota||44. Virginia|
|4. South Carolina||45. Florida|
|5. Pennsylvania||46. Illinois|
|6. New Jersey||47. Louisiana|
|7. Iowa||48. Indiana|
|8. West Virginia||49. Colorado|
|9. Arkansas||50. New Mexico|
|10. Connecticut||51. Kansas|
States with Weekly Claims Better Than Last Year:
To view the full report and your state's rank, please visit:
What does Thanksgiving travel tell us about unemployment in the coming months?
"Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, people have a strong desire to resume their normal activities, which is demonstrated by the fact that around 50 million Americans traveled between November 25 and 29, down only 5 million from the equivalent period in 2019. People's attitudes concerning a return to normalcy, coupled with the impending widespread distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine next year, should eventually work together to significantly cut down unemployment," said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. "Until a vaccine gets widely distributed, though, people should continue to be cautious in order to avoid harsher lockdowns that will cause greater unemployment in the short-term."
What does the recent vaccine news from Moderna mean for unemployment?
"The fact that Moderna announced that their vaccine is nearly 95% effective should be a big encouragement to people who are unemployed. Since two companies, Moderna and Pfizer, both have demonstrated an effective vaccine, we can expect to see a larger quantity of doses become available initially, assuming both vaccines are approved," said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. "The sooner we can get the majority of Americans vaccinated, the sooner we can proceed to a full reopening. Once businesses are allowed to operate at full capacity, we can expect to see more aggressive hiring."
Should the government step in to help industries like movie theaters avoid going bankrupt?
"The government should take actions to prevent highly-impacted industries such as movie theaters from going bankrupt. Government restrictions on capacity, though essential for safety, have caused many places to become unprofitable. We should protect businesses against bankruptcy to prevent another rise in unemployment," said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. "In order to receive assistance, companies and landlords in danger of bankruptcy should also be willing to share in the cost. The government can't be solely responsible for bailing everyone out."
How do red states and blue states compare when it comes to recovery?
"With an average rank of 22 among the most recovered states, red states had a better recovery from unemployment claims last week than blue states, which rank 31 on average," said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. "The lower the number of the ranking, the bigger the state's recovery was."
How has unemployment in Texas – the state with the most COVID-19 cases – recovered?
"Texas' unemployment claims have experienced the 18th quickest recovery in the U.S. For the week of November 23, Texas had 23,189 new unemployment claims, a 93% decrease from the peak during the coronavirus pandemic," said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst.