It may have some of the most scenic landscapes and the best climate in the nation, but California also has the fifth slowest recovery for weekly unemployment claims in the U.S.

According to a new study, despite the fact the country is still battling coronavirus, new unemployment claims decreased week-over-week on Sept. 28 and were 88% below the peak during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This according to a study from WalletHub that recently updated rankings for the States Whose Weekly Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest.

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:

Change in California Weekly Unemployment Claims (1=Quickest Recovery, 25=Avg.):

578.69% Change in Unemployment Claims (Latest Week vs Last Year)

226,179 the week of September 28, 2020, vs 33,326 in the week of September 30, 2019

4th slowest recovery in the U.S.

515.96% Change in Unemployment Claims (Latest Week vs Start of 2020)

226,179 the week of September 28, 2020, vs 36,720 in the week of January 1, 2020

4th slowest recovery in the U.S.

842.07% Change in Unemployment Claims (Since Start of COVID-19 Crisis vs Last Year)

9,200,296 between the week of March 16, 2020, and the week of September 28, 2020, vs 1,092,587 between the week of March 18, 2019, and the week of September 30, 2019

13th quickest recovery in the U.S.

Reducing Unemployment

There are some ways to reduce unemployment right now considering there might not be more stimulus money until after the election, the report suggests.

“To reduce unemployment as quickly as possible without new stimulus money, local governments need to step up their efforts to ensure health while opening up the economy. We need aggressive safety measures, which means, for example, that masks should be mandatory for everyone in public, and restaurants should be allowed to use as much outdoor space as possible to avoid having crowded conditions inside,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst.

“We need to provide teachers with all the PPP that they need so that parents have the ability to make the right choice for their families. Perhaps most importantly, we need widespread rapid testing that prevents infected people from entering fully reopened public spaces.”

Impact of Possible Vaccine

If a coronavirus vaccine is distributed before the end of the year, how could that impact unemployment this would be good news, Gonzalez said.

“If a coronavirus vaccine becomes available before the end of the year, that’s great news for unemployment. If most people are vaccinated against COVID-19, the transmission risk will be minimized and we will finally be able to achieve a full reopening. Business revenue will increase, and as a result, businesses will have a greater ability to hire,” Gonzalez said.

“Even though it would be great to have a vaccine this year, it’s important to make sure that clinical trials are not rushed so that the final product has the best efficacy possible. We may also face an uphill battle getting people vaccinated, as recent surveys suggest as much as a third of the population would refuse the vaccine.”

Unemployment Concerns vs. Pandemic Concerns

Months later the report confirms Americans continue to be concerned more about COVID-19 than unemployment, Gonzelez said.

“Around 35 percent of Americans say COVID-19 is the biggest problem facing the U.S., compared to 3 percent who say unemployment, which shows that Americans are more focused on the pandemic.

“It’s important to remember that COVID-19 is the ultimate source of our unemployment problems, as we had record low unemployment before the pandemic which jumped to a nearly historic high due to business closures. The sooner we contain the pandemic, the sooner the employment market can recover,” she said

The Red States vs. the Blue States

In terms of red states and blue states and how they compare to recovery Gonzalez said: “With an average rank of 24 among the most recovered states, red states had a better recovery from unemployment claims last week than blue states, which rank 29 on average.

“The lower the number of the ranking, the bigger the state’s recovery was.”

Source: WalletHub