The U.S. is still in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, and different states have reopened at different rates. Some states have paused their reopening plans or have even reversed course and issued new restrictions. The U.S. experienced a slight increase in new unemployment claims week-over-week, which shows that we’re in a saw-toothed shaped recovery.
There are currently 11.1 million Americans unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in total. Last week, there were 778,000 new unemployment claims nationwide, which is a lot fewer than the 6.9 million during the peak of the pandemic (an 89% reduction).
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.
States Whose Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest
|State||Recovered Most Since Last Week||Recovered Most Since Start of COVID-19 Crisis|
|District of Columbia||8||25|
Rank 1 = Most Recovered
|State||Change in Unemployment Claims (Latest Week vs. Last Year)*||Change in Unemployment Claims (Latest Week vs Start of 2020)**||Change in Unemployment Claims (Since Start of COVID-19 Crisis vs. Last Year)***|
|District of Columbia||75.40%||104.57%||900.88%|
*Refers to the change in the number of unemployment insurance initial claims in the week of November 16, 2020 compared to the week of November 18, 2019.
**Refers to the change in the number of unemployment insurance initial claims in the week of November 16, 2020 compared to the week of January 1, 2020.
***Refers to the change in the number of unemployment insurance initial claims between the weeks of March 16, 2020 to November 16, 2020 compared to the weeks of March 18, 2019 to November 18, 2019.
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, St. Louis Federal Reserve.
Ask the Experts
Facing a pandemic is stressful enough by itself, but many Americans must deal with losing their employment on top of health concerns. To help guide Americans in this time of crisis, WalletHub turned to a panel of experts to provide some additional insight. Click on the experts below to view their bios and responses to the following key questions:
- What is your opinion on the $2.2 trillion emergency relief package that has been passed by Congress and signed by President Trump? Will this be sufficient to ensure full relief?
- What is your advice for people who don’t qualify for the stimulus payments?
- What do you think of insured unemployment as a measure for unemployment?
Ask the Experts
In order to identify where states’ workforces have recovered most from COVID-19, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on changes in unemployment insurance initial claims for several key weeks. We then used those metrics to give two separate rankings to the states.
Our first ranking is based on the most recent data only, and uses the following metrics:
- Change in Number of Unemployment Insurance Initial Claims in Latest Week vs. Last Year: Double Weight (~66.67 Points)
Note: This metric measures the change in the number of unemployment insurance initial claims in the week of November 16, 2020 compared to the week of November 18, 2019.
- Change in Number of Unemployment Insurance Initial Claims in Latest Week vs. Start of 2020: Full Weight (~33.33 Points)
Note: This metric measures the change in the number of unemployment insurance initial claims in the week of November 16, 2020 compared to the week of January 1, 2020.
The second ranking is based on cumulative data since the beginning of the pandemic:
- Change in Number of Unemployment Insurance Initial Claims Since Start of COVID-19 Crisis vs. Last Year: Full Weight (~100.00 Points)
Note: This metric measures the change in the number of unemployment insurance initial claims between the weeks of March 16, 2020 to November 16, 2020 compared to the weeks of March 18, 2019 to November 18, 2019.
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor.