Jobs

This State Has America's Highest Unemployment

The job situation in America has improved dramatically since just after the COVID-19 pandemic began. However, the unemployment rate just before that, early in 2020, was near a 50 year low at 3.5%. The economy has to do a lot of catching up to do to reach pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, the unemployment improvement nationwide over the last two months has been disappointing. In May, the economy added 559,000 jobs, and unemployment dropped to 5.8%. That percentage figure varies substantially from state to state, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS “STATE EMPLOYMENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT — MAY 2021” showed: “Unemployment rates were lower in May in 21 states and the District of Columbia, higher in 1 state, and stable in 28 states.” The state with the highest unemployment rate was Hawaii at 8.1%.

Hawaii has one major disadvantage in the race to improve its employment situation. A huge amount of its economy revolves around tourism. This industry suffered badly during the pandemic. People were virtually forced to stay off planes and cruise ships. Worries about the disease have still kept traffic low, even though air travel, in particular, has returned as a mode of transportation.

Hawaii was also very aggressive in an effort to protect its population. Rules for those who wanted to enter the state were extremely stringent. This made the tourism industry’s hurdle even higher.

Hawaii has started to relax these laws, and next month it will take a major step to increase visits. According to KHON 2:

Starting July 8, mainland visitors who are fully vaccinated, meaning at least two weeks after getting their final shot, can use their vaccination card to bypass the pre-travel test and mandatory quarantine.

Many people continue to stay off planes, but for Hawaii’s job situation, it is a step in the right direction.