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States Experiencing the Fastest Unemployment Claims Recovery – Updated WalletHub Study

New unemployment claims increased slightly week-over-week on August 16, but were still 94% below the peak during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help add some context to these statistics, WalletHub just released updated rankings for the States Whose Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest, along with accompanying videos and audio files.

Key Stats:

  • Ten states had unemployment claims last week that were lower than before the pandemic: North Dakota, Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Vermont, New York, Kentucky and Louisiana.
  • Surprisingly, four states (Virginia, New Mexico, Maryland, and Oregon) and D.C. had unemployment claims last week that were worse than the same week last year.
Most Recovered Last Week Least Recovered Last Week
1. North Dakota 42. Tennessee
2. Kentucky 43. Alaska
3. South Carolina 44. Colorado
4. Arkansas 45. Oregon
5. New York 46. Indiana
6. Arizona 47. Illinois
7. Iowa 48. Maryland
8. Pennsylvania 49. Virginia
9. South Dakota 50. District of Columbia
10. Vermont 51. New Mexico

To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/states-unemployment-claims/72730

WalletHub Q&A

Do you expect the approval of the Pfizer vaccine by the FDA to have any impact on unemployment?

“In the long term, the approval of the Pfizer vaccine by the FDA should help reduce unemployment because more workplaces will make the vaccine mandatory, which in turn will cause more people to get vaccinated. A higher vaccination rate leads to a faster economic recovery, which then leads to greater future hiring,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “In the short term, there might be a small increase in unemployment as some people who don’t want to get the vaccine quit their jobs or are fired.”

What does it mean for the employment market that 25% to 40% of unemployed workers are still making more while unemployed than they did while working?

“The fact that 25% to 40% of unemployed workers are still making more while unemployed than they did while working does not bode well for the market. There is less incentive for people to get a job when unemployment pays more money, and as a result many businesses want to hire more people but cannot find workers,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Expanded unemployment benefits were necessary during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to keep families on their feet in the midst of massive layoffs. Now that the country has mostly reopened and there are a lot more job openings, the extra money is detrimental to economic progress.”

Should unemployed people wait until their benefits end to find a job?

“No, unemployed people should not wait until their benefits end to find a job. Even if the current unemployment benefits pay well, people should be thinking about the long term rather than the short term,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Right now, many companies are experiencing labor shortages and are desperate to hire employees, which means that job-seekers have a lot of leverage and a lot of options. Now is an ideal time to start looking for a job in order to get the best compensation and most benefits possible.”

How do red states and blue states compare when it comes to recovery?

“With an average rank of 30 among the most recovered states, blue states had a worse recovery from unemployment claims last week than red states, which rank 22 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 California – the state with the most COVID-19 cases – recovered?

“California’s unemployment claims have experienced the 15th slowest recovery in the U.S. For the week of August 16, California had 67,224 new unemployment claims, 94% decrease from the peak during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst.