With states opening up and the national unemployment rate now at 13.3% compared to the nearly historic high of 14.7% at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, WalletHub today released its report on the States Whose Unemployment Rates Are Bouncing Back Most to illustrate which areas of the country have had the best recovery so far.
This report examines unemployment rates on a monthly basis, complementing the weekly analysis in WalletHub’s report on the States Whose Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest.
In order to identify the states with the best recovery in unemployment rates, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on four key metrics. We looked at the change in each state’s unemployment rate during the latest month for which we have data (May 2020) compared to May 2019 and January 2020. We also compared not seasonally adjusted continued claims in May 2020 to May 2019. Finally, we considered each state’s overall unemployment rate. Below, you can see highlights from the report, along with a Q&A.
Unemployment Recovery in New York (1=Most Recovered, 25=Avg.):
273.58% Change in Unemployment (May 2020 vs May 2019)
- 1,289,082 unemployed people in May 2020 vs 345,064 in May 2019;
- 23rd worst recovery in the U.S.
229.57% Change in Unemployment (May 2020 vs January 2020)
- 1,289,082 unemployed people in May 2020 vs 391,140 in January 2020;
- 18th worst recovery in the U.S.
1,520.61% Change in Not Seasonally Adjusted Continued Claims (May 2020 vs May 2019)
- 1,811,012 continued claims in May 2020 vs 111,749 in May 2019
- 17th worst recovery in the U.S.
14.20% Unemployment Rate (May 2020)
- 13th worst recovery in the U.S.
How will a decrease in summer travel affect unemployment?
“A decrease in summer travel due to COVID-19 will keep the rate of unemployment in the travel and tourism industries high compared to other sectors, as they will receive a much smaller inflow of cash than normal and consequently will have reduced hiring power until we proceed to a full reopening,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Reduced summer travel could be a good thing for local merchants in places that aren’t tourist hubs, as people’s ‘staycations’ could inject more money into the local economy and help businesses hire more, or at least stay afloat. Cities that are popular vacation destinations will get less traffic from outsiders but may see more visits to attractions from locals who know there will be fewer tourists.”
What can states do to support people who are unemployed, other than provide traditional benefits?
“Aside from financial assistance, the best way for states to support unemployed residents is to facilitate a safe reopening that allows businesses to start rehiring. States should prioritize reopening places that help unemployed people get back to work, such as libraries with free Wi-Fi where they can conduct job searches and childcare programs that allow parents to go to work,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Safety should be the number one concern in any state’s reopening process, so a big part of getting people back to work is requiring face masks in public and other restrictive measures to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19.”
Which state has experienced the biggest increase in unemployment vs. the beginning of the year?
“Hawaii has experienced the biggest increase in unemployment because the number of unemployed persons jumped by 629% from January 2020 to May, compared to the average increase of 203%,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Hawaii’s overall unemployment rate is 22.5%, compared to the average of 13.3%.”
Where in the U.S. has experienced the smallest increase in unemployment vs. the beginning of the year?
“District of Columbia has experienced the smallest increase in unemployment because it has seen a 56% rise in the number of unemployed persons from January 2020 to May, compared to the average increase of 203%,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “District of Columbia’s overall unemployment rate is 8.5%, compared to the average of 13.3%.”