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Pandemic reds or blues: States recovering at different employment rates

The US recovery is continuing, including with jobs growth. Yet the unemployment rates across different states vary considerably.

Asian markets mixed as attention turns to US jobs
Jobs creation data due later Friday could have a major effect on the Federal Reserve's plans for tightening monetary policy - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File JOE RAEDLE
Jobs creation data due later Friday could have a major effect on the Federal Reserve's plans for tightening monetary policy - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File JOE RAEDLE

New unemployment claims for the U.S. decreased towards the end of January 2021, newly issued data reveals. In addition, the claims level stands at 96 percent below the peak during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 467,000 in January 2022, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.0 percent. However, broader variations are apparent across different states.

To delve a little deeper into the data, WalletHub has reviewed the data and the finance firm has released rankings for its “States Whose Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest” report.

The headline news is that every state had unemployment claims last week that were better than the same week last year. Delving into this more deeply, 29 states had unemployment claims last week that were lower than before the pandemic. The exceptions were: Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Michigan, Hawaii, Ohio, Utah, Connecticut, West Virginia, California, Wyoming, Alaska, Georgia, Nevada, Texas, Minnesota, Colorado, North Carolina, Mississippi, Massachusetts, and D.C.

The states showing the best recovery are:

1. Delaware

2. Rhode Island

3. New Hampshire

4. Maryland

5. Arkansas

6. South Carolina

7. Kansas

8. South Dakota

9. Arizona

10. Virginia

At the other end of the scale, the states struggling the most in terms of recovery are:

42. Hawaii

43. Utah

44. West Virginia

45. Alabama

46. Michigan

47. California

48. Kentucky

49. District of Columbia

50. Tennessee

51. Indiana

To assess where states’ workforces have recovered most from COVID-19, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on changes in unemployment insurance initial claims for several key weeks.

Adding  a political dimension to the data, Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst tells Digital Journal: “With an average rank of 24 among the most recovered states, blue states had a better recovery from unemployment claims last week than red states, which rank 28 on average.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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