The coronavirus pandemic is the “largest, most serious health crisis that has hit this nation in more than 100 years,” according to CDC director Robert Redfield. That’s not hard to see, considering the unprecedented social distancing measures that have affected the lives of all Americans. Many parts of the U.S. were caught unprepared for a pandemic of this scale, running out of space in hospitals and lacking adequate supplies for doctors and nurses. However, some states’ healthcare systems were better equipped to deal with the onslaught of the virus than others.
In order to determine the states that had the best health infrastructure to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 14 unique metrics. Our data set ranges from the state’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness funding per capita to the share of the population that is uninsured and the number of hospital beds per capita. Read on for the ranking, additional insight from a panel of experts and a complete description of our methodology.
The coronavirus pandemic has eliminated nearly 39 million jobs since mid-March, turning historic unemployment lows into nearly historic highs. In total, 14.7% of Americans are unemployed as of April 2020, compared to around 25% during the Great Depression. The difference from the Great Depression, though, is that the job losses appear to be largely short-term. Most people who became unemployed during this crisis have only been temporarily laid off, and expect to be rehired by their former employers once companies reopen and start to make money again. However, it will take far more time for us to reduce the unemployment rate to pre-pandemic levels than it did for the virus to reverse over a decade of job growth.
In order to identify the states with the biggest increases in unemployment rates, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on three key metrics. We looked at the change in each state’s unemployment rate during the latest month for which we have data (April 2020) compared to April 2019 and January 2020. We also considered each state’s overall unemployment rate. This monthly report is a companion to our report on the States Hit Most by Unemployment Claims, which examines unemployment claims on a weekly basis. Read on for the results, additional commentary from a panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.
As more than half of the U.S. takes the first steps toward reopening the economy after months of keeping non-essential businesses closed, Americans hope to see the massive spike in unemployment start to reverse. Nearly 39 million Americans have found themselves temporarily or permanently out of a job since the week of March 16, which translates to a staggering 17.2% unemployment. Though the reopening of states will provide opportunities for some people to go back to work, businesses will open in stages rather than all at once, and many may not have the resources to hire as many people as they did previously.
Not all states have experienced the same levels of unemployment due to the pandemic. To identify which states’ workforces have been hurt most by COVID-19, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on increases in unemployment claims. We used this data to rank the most impacted states in both the latest week for which we have data (May 11) and overall since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis (March 16). Read on for the results, additional commentary from a panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.
If there’s any year you want to take a staycation instead of a vacation, it’s 2020. Though many states are starting to reopen some businesses after closing them due to coronavirus, it will be a long time before the travel and tourism industries are back in full gear. On top of that, many people won’t want to be around crowds until the pandemic has fully subsided, and others simply don’t have the money to take a trip with how hard COVID-19 has hit the economy. Luckily, there are certain places that offer plenty of options for entertainment and relaxation at the right price point, making those cities the perfect spots for staying local.
To determine the best places for a fun-filled yet wallet-friendly staycation, WalletHub compared more than 180 cities across 15 key metrics. Our data set ranges from parks per capita to the average home square footage and the idealness of summer weather. Read on for the full ranking, our methodology and useful staycationing tips from experts.
Americans experienced unprecedented restrictions on their everyday life in order to fight the coronavirus, but now most states have partially reopened. In order to determine the states with the fewest coronavirus restrictions, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 11 key metrics. Our data set ranges from whether child-care programs and restaurants have reopened to the presence or absence of a “shelter-in-place” order. Read on for the state ranking, additional insight from a panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.
As military personnel retire this year, they will find themselves dropped into another war – the one the U.S. is waging against the coronavirus. COVID-19 has killed more Americans than the Vietnam War did, and has led to government measures similar to that of wartime, such as restrictions on going out and the conversion of factories to make essential supplies. Many of our military retirees will need emotional support as they transition back to civilian life in the midst of the pandemic, but may find opportunities for that support sharply cut back by social distancing. The skyrocketing unemployment rate caused by COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns will also stand as an obstacle to any former military personnel looking to get civilian jobs
Even without a pandemic, retirement from the military is always difficult, with many retirees facing major struggles including Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, disability and homelessness. These veterans must also consider how state tax policies on military benefits vary, along with the relative friendliness of different job markets and other socioeconomic factors, when choosing a state in which to settle down.
Drug abuse has a long and storied history in the United States, and we’ve been “at war” with it since 1971 under the Nixon administration. But no matter who is in office, the federal drug budget continues to increase, growing from $28.8 billion in 2017 to $29.9 billion in 2019.
The current administration seems to be taking a hardline approach to drug use. In addition to the issue of drugs crossing the border from Mexico, President Donald Trump has been focused especially on the opioid epidemic, even declaring it a national crisis. Unfortunately, any progress made on that front is threatened by the coronavirus pandemic, as social distancing ends up creating more potential for relapses and overdoses.
Debt settlement affects your credit for up to 7 years, lowering your credit score by as much as 100 points initially and then having less of an effect as time goes on. The events that typically lead up to debt settlement will affect your credit score, too. Most creditors will not consider debt settlement until the debt holder is severely delinquent on payment or already in default. Missing payments and then defaulting, or charging-off, on debt can cause your credit score to drop by as much as 110 points even before debt settlement negotiations begin.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the news often focuses on the medically vulnerable – people who risk the most serious symptoms if they contract the disease, such as the elderly or people with pre-existing medical conditions. However, two other at-risk populations are just as crucial to protect – those who lack adequate living conditions and those without enough monetary resources to weather the pandemic.
In order to find out which states have the highest concentrations of vulnerable people across all three categories, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 28 key metrics. Our data set ranges from the share of the population aged 65 and older to the share of the homeless population that is unsheltered and the share of the entire population living in poverty. Read on for the state ranking, additional insight from a panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.
Law enforcement is a career that is always in the public eye, whether for heroic reasons or scandal. Currently, our nation’s 800,000 law enforcement officers have even more of a spotlight than usual, as they balance enforcing coronavirus lockdowns with performing their normal duties. Officers also have a much higher risk of coming into contact with COVID-19 than the general population – one in six New York City police officers is out sick or in quarantine, for example.
Even when the U.S. isn’t in the middle of a pandemic, being a police officer is significantly more dangerous than many other occupations. Because of such risks, law-enforcement agencies must offer enough incentives to attract and retain officers. To start, there’s a $65,170 mean annual wage and typically a generous benefits package which can include retirement-contribution matches, tuition assistance, ample leave time, a take-home vehicle, and access to health and fitness facilities.
Laurel Road Review Summary: Laurel Road personal loans are for people with a credit score of at least 660. Laurel Road also offers one of the lowest maximum interest rates on the market, at 16.55%. However, their lowest interest rate is 8.26%, which is pretty cheap but not elite. Therefore, Laurel Road personal loans are best for people in the fair credit range, as other lenders would likely charge much higher APRs. But people with excellent credit scores will likely find 8.01% too high compared to the 6% minimum that some other lenders offer.
Another selling point of Laurel Road personal loans is that they have no origination fees. On top of that, they can be useful for debt consolidation because Laurel Road will lend up to $45,000. One more thing to note about Laurel Road is that they were acquired by KeyBank in April 2019. They still offer loans under the name Laurel Road, but those loans are ultimately serviced by KeyBank. In addition to personal loans, Laurel Road offers student loans, student loan refinancing and mortgages.
Minimum credit score not disclosed: reportedly 620
2.9% - 8% origination fee
$10 late fee
Upgrade Review Summary: Upgrade personal loans offer quick decisions and funding, with the whole process taking 2 - 5 business days. They’re also are fairly easy to get, reportedly requiring a credit score of only 620 for approval. Plus, Upgrade loans are available to U.S. citizens as well as permanent residents of the U.S. and immigration-visa holders who have a passport instead of an SSN.
The unfortunate part is that Upgrade personal loans aren’t really ideal for either people with bad credit or people with excellent credit. People with bad credit will have to deal with interest rates as high as 35.97%. And while people with excellent credit can qualify for rates as low as 7.99%, they can get better deals from other lenders. Upgrade’s personal loan APR range starts a bit higher than that of other online lenders because they have an origination fee of 2.9% to 8% of the loan amount built into the APR.
Peerform Review Summary: Peerform offers personal loans through peer-to-peer lending, which means they connect borrowers with investors who are willing to extend them loans. Borrowers have to meet a minimum set of requirements, which include a FICO score of 600+, a Social Security number and an active bank account, in order to qualify.
Peerform will do a soft credit inquiry to see if an interested borrower meets their minimum standards for a loan. If they do, Peerform assigns them a grade based on their credit, income and other factors. This demonstrates the risk of the loan for investors. The borrower may also be able to pick from several options of loan lengths and corresponding rates. From there, the borrower posts their “loan inquiry” on the Peerform marketplace for two weeks and waits to see if it gets funded. If the loan gets successfully funded, Peerform does a hard credit inquiry to finalize the process. Assuming the loan gets approved, the borrower then makes payments to Peerform, which distributes money to the investors.
Minimum credit score not disclosed: reportedly 680
Joint applications not allowed
Bottom line: Marcus personal loans are ideal for people with good-to-excellent credit scores, offering APRs as low as 6.99%. The minimum credit score requirement for a Marcus personal loan is also reported to be around 680. Plus, one of the best parts about Marcus personal loans, provided by a division of Goldman Sachs Bank, is that they’re completely fee-free. Marcus won’t even charge a late fee, unlike many major lenders.
Marcus personal loan applicants don’t have to wait long for a decision, either, as many Marcus customers receive funds in as little as 5 days. With the potential for low costs and fast approval, it’s easy to see why customers are satisfied with Marcus personal loans and why Marcus has an A+ BBB rating.
Bottom line: American Express personal loans are only available to people with an American Express credit card account who have received a pre-approved personal loan offer through Amex’s automated system. They also require a credit score of 660 or higher.
People who qualify for American Express personal loans can borrow up to $40,000 with an interest rate as low as 6.98%. That’s ideal for debt consolidation. Amex personal loans also have decent repayment terms, ranging from 12 to 36 months.
Quick Review: Citizens One personal loans can be ideal for people with good or excellent credit. It takes a 680 credit score to qualify – a bit higher than what most major lenders require. Qualified borrowers can get an APR as low as 6.79% – one of the lowest starting rates on the market. And Citizens One’s maximum APR is 20.88%, which is cheaper than the highest APRs on many competitors’ loans. To top it off, Citizens One personal loans are totally fee-free. They have no origination-, prepayment- or late fees.
Citizens One personal loans are offered by the national lending division of Citizens Bank. Citizens Bank has branches in just 11 states, and personal loans with the Citizens Bank brand name are only available to people who live in those states. People in other states get personal loans with the Citizens One brand name. Aside from the name, almost everything else is the same between Citizens Bank personal loans and Citizens One personal loans. The one exception is the loan amount. Citizens One only offers up to $5,000 at the moment, while Citizens Bank will lend up to $15,000.
Quick Review: Upstart loans are best for people with good or excellent credit because they offer APRs as low as 6.18% to the most creditworthy customers. Borrowers can also take out loans of up to $50,000, which is great for debt consolidation, home renovations and more.
People with credit scores as low as 620 can qualify for Upstart loans, too, but applicants who barely meet the minimum requirements for approval might have to deal with an APR as high as 35.99%. Another downside to Upstart loans is that it can take as long as 14 business days to get a decision in some cases. It only takes 1 - 3 business days to get funded after approval, though.
Sallie Mae does not offer personal loans anymore. Sallie Mae announced the discontinuation of their personal loan business in January 2020, when they released their quarterly earnings report. The report said Sallie Mae wants to focus on other priorities and “does not expect to originate or purchase Personal Loans in 2020.”
Though there are no Sallie Mae personal loans available for the foreseeable future, the lender does have other types of financial products available. They offer student loans and credit cards, along with savings accounts and college planning resources.
Quick Review: Barclays personal loans offer one of the cheapest minimum APRs on the market, at 4.99%. Their maximum APR of 20.99% is lower than what many other lenders offer, too. The one downside is that these low rates aren’t available to everyone. Though Barclays doesn’t disclose a minimum credit score requirement, the consensus from third-party sources is that you will generally need a 700+ score. In addition, you can currently only apply for a Barclays personal loan if the company invites you to do so.
Another drawback to Barclays personal loans is that they don’t allow joint applications. But other than that, everything else is very desirable. For example, there aren’t any fees whatsoever, not even late fees. Below you can see how WalletHub’s editors rate Barclays personal loans in our three major categories: Terms, Requirements & Application, and Reviews & Transparency. You’ll also see how Barclays loans compare to other lenders’ offers.
Quick Review: FreedomPlus personal loans can be a good choice for people with excellent credit and bad credit alike. Applicants with high credit scores may be able to qualify for the minimum APR of 6.99%, which is among the cheapest on the market. Those with bad credit may be able to qualify for a loan, too, since the minimum credit score requirement is just 620, but they may pay as much as 29.99% in interest each year. FreedomPlus does have an origination fee, by the way, but you don’t have to pay it separately because it’s already built into the APR range.
People who want small loan amounts shouldn’t consider FreedomPlus. FreedomPlus won’t offer loans smaller than $7,500. They won’t lend you more than 35% of your yearly income, either, so keep that in mind. Below, you can see how WalletHub rates FreedomPlus personal loans in our three major categories: Terms, Requirements & Application, and Reviews & Transparency.