While new unemployment claims have started to pick up again due to spikes in COVID-19, last week they were still 79% below the peak during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help add some context to this statistic, WalletHub just released updated rankings for the States Whose Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest, along with accompanying videos and audio files.

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.

Most Recovered Last Week Least Recovered Last Week

1. Oregon 42. Tennessee

2. Iowa 43. Kentucky

3. Pennsylvania 44. Mississippi

4. New Jersey 45. Nevada

5. Maine 46. Louisiana

6. West Virginia 47. Arkansas

7. Connecticut 48. New Mexico

8. Utah 49. Georgia

T-9. Illinois 50. Florida

T-9. Maryland 51. Virginia

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

https://wallethub.com/edu/states-unemployment-claims/72730/.

Q&A

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 does the availability of childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic affect unemployment?

“The availability of childcare can have a big impact on unemployment because if a state’s childcare programs are closed due to COVID-19, at least one parent in each household may be forced to stay home. A lack of childcare can be devastating for single parents who can’t afford to stay home or families who rely on their children receiving free meals at school,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “In states where childcare is not currently available, businesses should make an effort to let parents work remotely, though that is not an option for every type of job.”

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 23 among the most recovered states, blue states had a better recovery from unemployment claims last week than red states, which rank 28 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 14th slowest recovery in the U.S. For the week of July 20, California had 249,007 new unemployment claims, a 76% decrease from the peak during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst.

The above Q&A is also provided in audio format and can be edited as needed.