As coronavirus cases surge across the nation, some states are having to slow down or pause their economic recovery while others continue reopening their workforce. The number of new unemployment claims has decreased from the pandemic’s peak in mid-March, but the nation still has a long way to go before it is fully recovered from COVID-19’s economic impact.
In a recent study, the personal finance company WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia in three metrics of unemployment to find which states’ workforces are recovering most quickly from the economic devastation of the pandemic.
The report uses unemployment data from the U.S. Labor Department to create a point system which ranks the states into two classifications, most recovered from last week and most recovered from the start of the pandemic. The data found that Oregon is the state most recovered since last week, with only 122 percent increase in unemployment claims as compared to this time last year, and Connecticut is the state most recovered since the beginning of the pandemic, with a 760 percent increase, the lowest of all states, in claims since the start of the COVID-19 crisis as compared to last year.
As recent coronavirus surge numbers have suggested, Florida and Georgia were the states with the worst rankings in both categories; Florida was the least recovered state from last week and Georgia the least recovered since the beginning of the pandemic. In unemployment insurance initial claims since the beginning of the pandemic as compared to last year, Georgia has seen a 3,718 percent increase. Florida has seen an increase of 1,578 percent last week as compared to 2019.
The data also represents how the nation is experiencing unprecedented unemployment numbers. Since the Great Recession in 2010, the nation recreated 22.7 million jobs to supplement the 8.8 million that were lost. However, in the past four months, 51.2 million Americans have filed claims for unemployment benefits, essentially erasing the job creation that happened over the past 10 years and digging a deeper hole than was left in 2010.
As restaurants and shops continue to be limited in their capacity, businesses will close, resulting in lost jobs. State and local governments will have to reduce their expenses, enacting hiring freezes and layoffs as to maintain their balanced budgets. Even with the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, the American economy will not have enough circulation of jobs and money to rebound quickly. The study also consulted with some experts to further understand the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and of the nation’s crisis response.
Michael Toma, professor of economics at Georgia Southern University, explains, “It seems the bridge that was meant to be the CARES act was not long enough to get over the churning waters of the pandemic economy and will need an extension to get to the firmer economic ground on the other side.”
As some states have been forced to reinstate shutdown orders, the states’ economies do not have an opportunity to begin growth. Experts, unfortunately, expect that the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic will ripple through the country for months, possibly years to come. Toma predicts that, “While the economy will begin to rebound in the third quarter, it will be operating well below its typical level well into 2021, if not 2022.”