10 States Where Unemployment Claims Are Recovering Fastest

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The coronavirus pandemic has damaged millions of lives — physically, emotionally and financially.

More than 100,000 people have died in the U.S., and tens of millions have lost their jobs. Countless others have suffered emotional harm from the isolation of the lockdown or financial losses resulting from the new recession.

Lately, the news about COVID-19 has been mixed. The rate of deaths for the nation has plunged, according to provisional numbers from the Centers for Disease Control, but a surge of new infections has people increasingly concerned.

Fortunately, financial fortunes are on the rise in many states, as jobs slowly return and people laid off are rehired. Some states are doing better than others.

WalletHub recently crunched the data across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It determined that since the start of the crisis, initial claims for unemployment insurance have recovered fastest in these 10 states:

  1. Connecticut
  2. New Jersey
  3. Oregon
  4. Vermont
  5. California
  6. Arkansas
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Illinois
  9. Wyoming
  10. Alaska

Meanwhile, unemployment claims have recovered most slowly in these five states:

  1. Georgia
  2. Florida
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Kentucky
  5. Oklahoma

However, some states are temporarily pausing their reopening processes due to COVID-19 spikes, which may slow down job growth. There are still 17.8 million Americans unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic in total, according to WalletHub.

WalletHub notes that last week, there were 1.4 million new claims for unemployment insurance nationwide. That was down from 6.9 million weekly claims during the peak — a 79% reduction.

This trend of improving unemployment claims could slow now that some states have decided to halt or even reverse their reopening process amid the surge of new infections.

On July 2, Florida reported 10,000 new cases of the coronavirus in a single day, according to Reuters. Other states — including California, Arizona and Texas — also are seeing big increases in new infections.

WalletHub also spoke to experts who emphasized that unemployment claims do not necessarily give a full picture of what is occurring in terms of employment.

Tony Michael, professor and program director of family and community development at West Virginia University, points out that even prior to the pandemic, West Virginia had the lowest workforce participation rate in the country — 54.8% — but an unemployment rate of 4.6%, the state’s best in more than a decade. He told WalletHub:

“Even taking into account a relatively high retiree population, it should be evident that the insured unemployment rate is not an accurate measure for true unemployment.”

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