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. Below, you can see highlights from the report, along with a WalletHub Q&A. To see the states most recovered since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.
Change in South Carolina Weekly Unemployment Claims (1=Quickest Recovery, 25=Avg.):
- 266.32% Change in Unemployment Claims (Latest Week vs Last Year)
- 8,909 the week of July 27, 2020 vs 2,432 the week of July 29, 2019
- 11th quickest recovery in the U.S.
- 19.25% Change in Unemployment Claims (Latest Week vs Start of 2020)
- 8,909 the week of July 27, 2020 vs 7,471 the week of January 1, 2020
- 7th quickest recovery in the U.S.
- 1,642.02% Change in Unemployment Claims (Since Start of COVID-19 Crisis vs Last Year)
- 718,878 between the week of March 16, 2020 and the week of July 27, 2020 vs 43,780 between the week of March 18, 2019 and the week of July 29, 2019
- 12th slowest recovery in the U.S.
Q&A with WalletHub
How will unemployment be impacted if schools only hold remote learning this fall?
“If schools only provide remote learning this fall, we could see a jump in unemployment. Young children will need supervision during the day, and parents who are unable to do their job remotely may be forced to take a leave from work to provide that supervision,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Forcing parents to stay home could be especially devastating financially for single-parent households. To avoid a spike in unemployment, we should create a detailed plan for having in-person learning while providing a high level of safety for students and teachers, which will allow us to minimize negative consequences for both public health and the economy.”
How will the fact that Congress has yet to agree on a new coronavirus relief package affect unemployment?
“Since Congress has not yet agreed on a new coronavirus relief package, unemployed Americans' weekly incomes will drop drastically after July 31 due to the expiration of the first round of benefits,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The delay of a new relief package will have more far-reaching consequences than just making life harder for the unemployed. There will be a big strain on businesses that depend on receiving payments from people who are unemployed, such as landlords and creditors, too.”
Will recent increases in retail sales help reduce unemployment?
“Recent increase in retail sales will help reduce unemployment to some degree because the more revenue businesses are able to bring in, the more prepared they will be to start hiring again. While an uptick in sales is good news for retail, we can do even more to help the sector by practicing social distancing in public to minimize the spread of COVID-19,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “We’ll see bigger reductions in unemployment once stores are able to operate at full capacity and all businesses are allowed to reopen, but that may not happen until there is a vaccine. In the meantime, several major retailers such as Walmart and Target have started the #maskup movement, requiring people to wear a mask in stores regardless of state laws. If mandatory mask wearing becomes commonplace in stores, that will lead to greater consumer confidence and less COVID-19 transmission.”
How is the wearing of masks linked to unemployment?
“Wearing masks helps prevent the release of droplets from the mouth or nose that may contain COVID-19, which consequently can help minimize the spread of the virus. Countries with more prevalent mask wearing have been less impacted by coronavirus, so mandating the use of masks in public may help us proceed to a full reopening sooner,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Consumers are more comfortable going out when they know everyone will be wearing masks, according to a recent WalletHub survey, and greater confidence leads to more people leaving the house and supporting businesses again.”
How do red states and blue states compare when it comes to recovery?
“With an average rank of 24 among the most recovered states, blue states had a better recovery from unemployment claims last week than red states, which rank 27 on average,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The lower the number of the ranking, the bigger the state’s recovery was.”
How has unemployment in California – the state with the most COVID-19 cases – recovered?
“California’s unemployment claims have experienced the 11th slowest recovery in the U.S. For the week of July 27, California had 228,530 new unemployment claims, a 78% decrease from the peak during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst.