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Updated: States With the Quickest Unemployment Claims Recovery

Michigan Business Network
July 16, 2021 6:00 PM

Page Icon– WalletHub Study

New unemployment claims decreased week-over-week on July 5, and were 94% below the peak during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help add some context to these statistics, WalletHub just released updated rankings for the
 States Whose Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest, along with accompanying videos and audio files

Key Stats:
  • Twelve states had unemployment claims last week that were lower than before the pandemic: Kentucky, Arizona, Kansas, South Carolina, West Virginia, Iowa, Florida, Wyoming, Michigan, Vermont, Washington, Minnesota.
  • Surprisingly, Rhode Island had unemployment claims last week that were worse than the same week last year.
Most Recovered Last Week Least Recovered Last Week
1. Kentucky 42. Alaska
2. South Carolina 43. Hawaii
3. Kansas 44. Pennsylvania
4. Arizona 45. Illinois
5. Washington 46. Tennessee
6. Iowa 47. Colorado
7. West Virginia 48. Oklahoma
8. Florida 49. District of Columbia
9. Vermont 50. Rhode Island
10. Wyoming 51. New Mexico

To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit:

WalletHub Q&A

Should unemployed people wait until their benefits end to find a job?

“No, unemployed people should not wait until their benefits end to find a job. Even if the current unemployment benefits pay well, people should be thinking about the long term rather than the short term,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Right now, many companies are experiencing labor shortages and are desperate to hire employees, which means that job-seekers have a lot of leverage and a lot of options. Now is an ideal time to start looking for a job in order to get the best compensation and most benefits possible.”

Some states are proposing paying bonuses to people who go back to work. Is this a good idea?

“It is a bad idea for states to pay bonuses to people who go back to work. The government has already done its job to get the pandemic under control with shutdowns and the vaccine, and it supported people and businesses with multiple stimulus packages,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Now that COVID-19 cases have dropped dramatically and the country has largely reopened, it’s time for the free market to function again.”

If the U.S. fails to reach “herd immunity,” what could that mean for unemployment?

“If the U.S. fails to reach ‘herd immunity,’ that wouldn’t be ideal, but it also wouldn’t prevent us from getting things back to normal. A significant portion of the population is getting vaccinated, which will still greatly reduce the transmission rate and threat of the disease. As a result, we should see a continued decline in unemployment,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The U.S. has already made big strides toward a full reopening. The more people who choose to get vaccinated, the smoother that reopening will be and the greater companies’ hiring capabilities will be.”  

Do you expect companies to require getting the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition for employment?

“It is likely that some companies will require getting the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition for employment, with obvious exemptions for people who are medically unable to receive it,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Companies should be able to have a COVID-19 vaccine requirement because they need to do everything in their power to keep their workers and customers safe. In addition, the more companies that require employees to get a vaccine, the faster we will be able to achieve a full reopening.”

How do red states and blue states compare when it comes to recovery?

“With an average rank of 29 among the most recovered states, blue states had a worse recovery from unemployment claims last week than red states, which rank 23 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 23rd slowest recovery in the U.S. For the week of July 5, California had 58,396 new unemployment claims, a 94% decrease from the peak during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. 

Michigan Business Network is an online broadcasting company that provides knowledge, news, and insights into Michigan’s businesses, industries, and economy.