With the U.S. gaining 1.4 million jobs in August and the national unemployment rate at 8.4% compared to the nearly historic high of 14.7% at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, a new report shares updated rankings for the States Whose August Unemployment Rates Are Bouncing Back Most showing the areas of the country with the best recovery to date.
This report conducted by WalletHub examines unemployment rates monthly, complementing the weekly analysis in WalletHub’s report on the States Whose Weekly Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest.
All 50 States
To identify the states with the best recovery in unemployment, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on four key metrics. It looked at the change in each state’s unemployment during the latest month for which it has data (August 2020) compared to August 2019 and January 2020.
It also compared not seasonally adjusted continued claims from August 2020 to August 2019. Finally, it considered each state’s overall unemployment rate.
Below, are highlights from the report:
- Unemployment Recovery in California (1=Most Recovered, 25=Avg.):
- 168.65% Change in Unemployment (August 2020 vs August 2019)
- 2,171,794 unemployed people in August 2020 vs 808,406 in August 2019;
- 7th worst recovery in the U.S.
- 158.55% Change in Unemployment (August 2020 vs January 2020)
- 2,171,794 unemployed people in August 2020 vs 839,986 in January 2020;
- 7th worst recovery in the U.S.
- 822.14% Change in Not Seasonally Adjusted Continued Claims (August 2020 vs August 2019)
- 2,837,991 continued claims in August 2020 vs 307,762 in August 2019
- 22nd worst recovery in the U.S.
- 11.6% Unemployment Rate (August 2020)
- 5th highest unemployment rate in the U.S.
There is a big difference in the unemployment rate among various demographics, according to WalletHub experts.
“The unemployment rate does differ sharply among different demographics. The unemployment rate for white people is 7.5 percent, while it’s near twice that amount, at 13.1 percent, for black people. The racial disparity is troubling, especially in the context of broader discussions of inequality that have taken place this year,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst in a news release.
“The unemployment rate can fluctuate a lot by age, too; it’s only 6.2 percent for those aged 45 to 54, but 14.1 percent for people aged 20 to 24. It makes sense that people who have been in the workforce longer would have more job stability, but we should be concerned about the difficult conditions faced by young people.”
Tips for Those Not Working
Many Americans are approaching, or have reached, six months unemployed. Gonzalez offered some financial tips for people who fall into the long-term unemployment bracket.
“People who are unemployed for six months or more should first make sure they have exhausted all benefits or resources available to them, as some states may offer extended unemployment benefits,” Gonzalez said in the news release.
“People who have run out of benefits and can’t fall back on savings should look critically at their spending and temporarily cut out anything non-essential, as well as look into whether they can get temporary relief on their bills through the biller’s hardship program. Some people may need to borrow money, but should avoid extremely costly options like payday loans unless necessary.”
As for what states can do to support people who are unemployed, other than provide traditional benefits Gonzalez also had some ideas.
“Aside from financial assistance, the best way for states to support unemployed residents is to facilitate a safe reopening that allows businesses to start rehiring. States should prioritize reopening places that help unemployed people get back to work, such as libraries with free Wi-Fi where they can conduct job searches and childcare programs that allow parents to go to work,” Gonzalez said.
“Safety should be the number one concern in any state’s reopening process, so a big part of getting people back to work is requiring face masks in public and other restrictive measures to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19.”
Hardest and Least Hardest Hit
The state that has experienced the biggest increase in unemployment vs. the beginning of the year in Hawaii, according to tot he reports.
“Hawaii has experienced the biggest increase in unemployment because the number of unemployed persons jumped by 308% from January 2020 to August, compared to the average increase of 94%,” Gonzalez said. WalletHub analyst. “Hawaii’s overall unemployment rate is 12.5%, compared to an average of 8.4%.”
While Alaska has experienced the biggest decrease in unemployment vs. the beginning of the year, she noted.
“Alaska has experienced the biggest decrease in unemployment because it has seen a 4% decrease in the number of unemployed persons from January 2020 to August, compared to the average increase of 94%,” Gonzalez said. “Alaska’s overall unemployment rate is 6.4%, compared to an average of 8.4%.”
To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit here.