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

Despite the fact that the U.S. has been fighting the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year, new unemployment claims decreased week-over-week on February 1, and were 88% 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. New Jersey 42. Louisiana
2. Montana 43. Nevada
3. Wisconsin 44. Maryland
4. Pennsylvania 45. New Hampshire
5. South Dakota 46. New Mexico
6. Oregon 47. Colorado
7. Washington 48. Virginia
8. Michigan 49. Mississippi
9. North Dakota 50. Rhode Island
10. Arkansas 51. Ohio

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

WalletHub Q&A

How might Valentine’s Day spending affect unemployment?

“Valentine’s Day spending is unlikely to have any significant impact on unemployment,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “February is a slow month for most industries in general. Valentine’s Day celebration opportunities are greatly constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic, too, both in terms of the types of activities people can engage in and the amount of money they’re able to spend on luxuries. We shouldn’t expect a spending boom that will give merchants a lot of resources for extra hiring.”

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 states are far more efficient than others. For example, North Dakota has used all of its vaccine supply, while Alabama has only used less than 60%.”

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 has unemployment in California – the state with the most COVID-19 cases – recovered?

“California’s unemployment claims have experienced the 17th slowest recovery in the U.S. For the week of February 1, California had 132,839 new unemployment claims, an 87% decrease from the peak during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst.