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States Experiencing the Quickest Unemployment Claims Recovery – Updated WalletHub Study

New unemployment claims decreased week-over-week on August 2, and were 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:

  • The good news is that every state had unemployment claims last week that were better than the same week last year.
  • Seven states had unemployment claims last week that were lower than before the pandemic: Florida, South Carolina, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Iowa, and Louisiana.
Most Recovered Last Week Least Recovered Last Week
1. South Carolina 42. Texas
2. Florida 43. Utah
3. Kansas 44. Michigan
4. Pennsylvania 45. New Mexico
5. Arizona 46. Illinois
6. Washington 47. Colorado
7. South Dakota 48. Indiana
8. New Hampshire 49. District of Columbia
9. New York 50. Rhode Island
10. Vermont 51. Virginia

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

WalletHub Q&A

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.”

Some states are proposing paying bonuses to people who go back to work. Is this a good idea?

“It is a bad idea for states to pay bonuses to people who go back to work. The government has already done its job to get the pandemic under control with shutdowns and the vaccine, and it supported people and businesses with multiple stimulus packages,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Now that COVID-19 cases have dropped dramatically and the country has largely reopened, it’s time for the free market to function again.”

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

“With an average rank of 28 among the most recovered states, blue states had a worse recovery from unemployment claims last week than red states, which rank 24 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 20th slowest recovery in the U.S. For the week of August 2, California had 68,556 new unemployment claims, a 94% decrease from the peak during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst.