(NewsNation Now) — The U.S. economy has slowly continued to recover in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, with months of robust hiring and a widespread vaccination campaign. However, the recovery has not been equal across all states.
Currently, 62.5% have at least one dose and 53.2% of the U.S. population is fully inoculated, according to data complied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After a decline in recent months, vaccination rates have started to increase again with the delta variant’s rise. The country has also made strides in mending the economic damage from the pandemic recession with the unemployment rate falling from a staggering 14.8% in April 2020 to 5.2% in August 2021.
WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across 17 key metrics to determine what states were recovering the quickest. The data set included the amount of the state’s population that is fully vaccinated to the return of travel to the current real gross domestic product compared to pre-COVID levels.
The states recovering quickest from the pandemic:
- South Dakota
- New Hampshire
South Dakota and Utah ranked in the top five states for the lowest unemployment rate compared to pre-pandemic levels. Maine, South Dakota and Utah all tied for the top spot with the lowest share of hospitals across the state with supply shortages. Maine also ranked in the top five for the lowest hospitalization rate.
The states with the slowest recovery from the pandemic (47 to 51):
- South Carolina
Louisiana and South Carolina were tied for the highest death rate in the country. Oklahoma and Louisiana both had some of the country’s highest coronavirus hospitalization rates. Hawaii and Oklahoma also were ranked at the bottom with the lowest GDP rates compared to their pre-COVID-19 levels.
Joanne Song McLaughlin, associate professor of economics at the University of Buffalo, said while she believes the further vaccine rollout and implementation of booster shots will greatly help the economy, the future is still unknown.
“It is hard to make the long-run prediction because there are many variables involved. For example, for workers who were laid off during the recession, how soon can they get back to the same level of jobs they had before?” said Song. “Or if they were unemployed for a very long time, how would their skill deteriorate? Or are they forced to settle into a job that is not as good as the one they had before to pay their bills? All these factors play an important role in the long run, but we do not really have convincing evidence on these questions, yet.”
However, Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, warns that the loss of unemployment benefits could be detrimental to states’ progress as demonstrated in the handful of states that chose to opt out of these programs early.
“High-frequency economic data has suggested states which opted to exit these programs early did not see a hoped-for increase in employment amid a record number of reported job openings,” Hamrick said. “How this plays out from here remains to be seen.”
To see where your state ranks, visit Wallethub’s website.