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Report: States whose unemployment numbers have recovered the quickest

(The Center Square) – The number of new unemployment claims reported nationwide last week were 79 percent below the peak of the COVID-19 shutdowns resulting from state executive orders, according to the latest jobs report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The personal finance website WalletHub analyzed the numbers to identify the states whose unemployment claims are recovering the fastest.

“New unemployment claims have been on an overall downward trend since May,” Adam McCann, financial writer at WalletHub, writes. These numbers demonstrate that “the process of beginning to reopen states has had a positive impact, and many workers who were temporarily laid off while their employers remained closed are now being rehired.”

“However, some states are temporarily pausing their reopening processes due to COVID-19 spikes,” he adds, “… which may slow down job growth.”

The analysis compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three metrics based on changes in unemployment claims.

The states that have most recovered since March, are New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Oregon, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Montana, Iowa, West Virginia and Vermont.

The least recovered states are Wyoming, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Alaska, Mississippi, Louisiana, Virginia, Florida, Georgia and Indiana, according to the WalletHub analysis.

The report states that the coronavirus has “wiped out all job gains since the Great Recession” and that blue states unemployment claims are recovering quicker than red states’ claims.

Michael Toma, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Economics at Georgia Southern University, said that the unemployment number only tells part of the story.

The BLS’ monthly report also includes labor underutilization, or slackness in the labor market, referred to as the U-6 unemployment rate. The unemployment rate reported on more widely is the U-3, which solely includes those who have filed for unemployment.

“This unemployment rate does not include persons defined as discouraged workers, those employed part-time because of economic reasons, or those said to be marginally attached workers,” Toma said. “Discouraged workers are those who have given up searching for a job and therefore are not counted as officially unemployed. Part-time workers are counted as employed, but there is slackness in the labor market if some part-time workers prefer to be full-time workers but cannot find full-time jobs. Lastly, marginally attached workers are those who are not currently working or looking for a job but searched for a job sometime during the last twelve months.”

The U-6 unemployment rate includes those counted as unemployed in the U-3 rate, and also includes the three other categories. In April, Toma notes, the U-3 unemployment in the U.S. was 14.4 percent; the U-6 unemployment rate was 22.4 percent.