States That Had the Quickest Recovery of Weekly Unemployment Claims – Updated WalletHub Study

Despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic still has a strong grip on the U.S., new unemployment claims decreased week-over-week on February 15, and were 89% 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 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. Arkansas 42. Missouri
2. New Jersey 43. New Mexico
3. Vermont 44. Alaska
4. Arizona 45. Tennessee
5. South Carolina 46. New Hampshire
6. Oregon 47. Virginia
7. Montana 48. Colorado
8. Pennsylvania 49. Illinois
9. South Dakota 50. Mississippi
10. Connecticut 51. Ohio

To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit:

WalletHub Q&A

Do you expect companies to require getting the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition for employment?

“It is likely that some companies will require getting the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition for employment, with obvious exemptions for people who are medically unable to receive it,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Companies should be able to have a COVID-19 vaccine requirement because they need to do everything in their power to keep their workers and customers safe. In addition, the more companies that require employees to get a vaccine, the faster we will be able to achieve a full reopening.”

How might a state’s efficiency at administering the COVID-19 vaccine affect unemployment?

“States that are able to more efficiently vaccinate their residents will likely see better job growth than states that are less efficient. The more a state vaccinates, the safer conditions in that state will become and the sooner businesses will be able to fully reopen and have the resources to expand hiring,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Currently, some places are far more efficient than others. For example, New Mexico has used 91% of its vaccine supply, while the District of Columbia has only used 63%.”

How could the fact that vaccine rollout is slower than expected affect unemployment?

“Since vaccine rollout is slower than expected, that could slow the reduction in the unemployment rate this year. Without having most of the population vaccinated, we can’t achieve a full recovery, which means businesses will continue to not be able to hire in full force,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “If we can put more resources into achieving widespread vaccination, we can expect to make bigger strides in reducing unemployment. We should be concerned with educating people on the benefits of getting vaccinated, too, so that a higher percentage of the population will choose to receive the vaccine.”

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

“With an average rank of 25 among the most recovered states, blue states had a better recovery from unemployment claims last week than red states, which rank 27 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 22nd slowest recovery in the U.S. For the week of February 15, California had 89,473 new unemployment claims, a 92% decrease from the peak during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst.