The U.S. is gradually recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, though the Delta variant has caused our progress to slow down. While states have heavily relaxed their COVID-19 restrictions, some are starting to tighten them again. The country has still made big strides from the height of the pandemic, though, and as a result of our recovery, the unemployment rate has dropped to 5.2% from its high of 14.8% in April 2020.
The country’s progress toward economic recovery has been largely possible because of its public health improvements, due to the distribution of the vaccine. As of September 7, around 53% of the population has been fully vaccinated. The vaccine has been shown to be very effective at protecting vaccinated people from serious symptoms of COVID-19, and the greater level of safety will also lead to increased consumer confidence.
Even though the U.S. is making progress as a whole, some states are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic much faster than others. In order to determine the states that are having the most successful recoveries, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 17 key metrics. Our data set ranges from the share of the population fully vaccinated to the real GDP compared to pre-COVID levels.
States Recovering the Quickest from COVID-19
|Overall Rank||State||Total Score||COVID Health||Leisure & Travel||Economy & Labor Market|
|27||District of Columbia||58.52||5||51||40|
Note: With the exception of “Total Score,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that state, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for that metric category.
Ask the Experts
In order to give more insight about recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, WalletHub turned to a panel of experts. Click on the pictures of the experts below to read their bios and responses to the following key questions:
- How will the vaccine rollout help the economic recovery?
- Will the long-run job market fully recover from the impact of the pandemic?
- Will companies require getting the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition for employment?
- How has the pandemic transformed consumer spending habits?
- According to analysis of the latest Department of Labor national jobs report, Leisure & Hospitality holds the largest share of all U.S. unemployment caused by the pandemic. What strategies can local and state governments deploy to help shorten the industry’s recovery period?
Ask the Experts
In order to determine the states recovering the quickest from COVID-19, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three key dimensions: 1) COVID Health, 2) Leisure & Travel and 3) Economy & Labor Market.
We evaluated those dimensions using 17 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest level of recovery.
We then determined the weighted average across all metrics to calculate an overall score for each state and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.
COVID Health – Total Points: 50
- Share of Population Aged 12 and Older Fully Vaccinated: Double Weight (~6.25 Points)
- Share of Vaccine Supply Used: Full Weight (~3.13 Points)
Note: This metric is calculated as follows: Doses Administered / Doses Delivered.
- Positive Testing Rate: Double Weight (~6.25 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the positive COVID-19 testing rate in the state between August 11, 2021 and August 17, 2021.
- Hospitalization Rate: Triple Weight (~9.38 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the COVID-19 hospitalization rate in the state between August 12, 2021 and August 18, 2021.
- Death Rate: Triple Weight (~9.38 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the COVID-19 death rate in the state between August 29, 2021 and September 4, 2021.
- Share of COVID-Related Doctor Visits: Full Weight (~3.13 Points)
Note: Averaged estimated percentage of outpatient doctor visits primarily about COVID-related symptoms, between August 28, 2021 and September 3, 2021.
- Share of Hospitals with Staff Shortages: Double Weight (~6.25 Points)
Note: This metric refers to hospitals reporting staffing shortages in the week ending August 18, 2021.
- Share of Hospitals with Supply Shortages: Double Weight (~6.25 Points)
Note: “Low supply” is defined as a hospital not able to maintain a three-day supply of N95s, face masks, gloves, gowns, or eye protection in the week ending August 18, 2021.
Leisure & Travel – Total Points: 20
- Average Daily Restaurant Visits per Capita: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the average number of visits to locations that qualify as “Full-Service Restaurants” normalized by population size between August 23, 2021 to August 29, 2021.
- Number of Seated Diners at Restaurants vs Pre-COVID Levels: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the number of seated diners from online, phone, and walk-in reservations at restaurants for week ending September 6, 2021 compared to the same of week in 2019.
- Retail & Recreation Mobility Index: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
Note: This metric measures the percentage point increase or decrease in visits for places like restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, theme parks, museums, libraries, and movie theatres.
- Parks Mobility Index: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
Note: This metric measures the percentage point increase or decrease in visits for places like national parks, public beaches, marinas, dog parks, plazas, and public gardens.
Economy & Labor Market – Total Points: 30
- Real GDP vs Pre-COVID Levels (2020 vs. 2019): Double Weight (~8.57 Points)
- Unemployment Rate vs Pre-COVID Levels: Double Weight (~8.57 Points)
Note: This metric measures the change in unemployment rate from July 2021 compared to July 2019.
- Total Weekly Job Postings vs Pre-COVID Levels: Full Weight (~4.29 Points)
Note: This metric measures the change in weekly unique job postings as of week ending August 27, 2021 relative to January 2020.
- Total Weekly Consumer Spending vs Pre-COVID Levels: Full Weight (~4.29 Points)
Note: This metric measures the change in the average consumer credit and debit card spending as of week ending August 15, 2021 relative to January 2020.
- Workplace Mobility Index: Full Weight (~4.29 Points)
Note: This metric measures the percentage point increase or decrease in visits for places of work.
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, COVID-19 Electronic Lab Reporting, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Carnegie Mellon University Delphi Group, OpenTable, Raj Chetty, John N. Friedman, Nathaniel Hendren, Michael Stepner, and the Opportunity Insights Team, and the Google COVID-19 Community Mobility Report.