The COVID-19 pandemic drove the national unemployment rate to 14.7% in April 2020. Two months earlier, it was near a historic low at 3.5%. As the economy has recovered, the level clawed its way back to 3.9% in December, as the country added 199,000 jobs that month.
Joblessness varies considerably from state to state, as does the recovery of the jobs market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said in its State Employment and Unemployment — December 2021 report that “Forty-eight states and the District had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier and two states were little changed.” In the same month, the jobless rate in Nebraska was 1.7%, the lowest in the country. The highest figure was California’s 6.5%.
Among the conclusions in WalletHub’s recent States Whose Unemployment Rates Are Bouncing Back Most report was a comment on the current state of the improvement of the jobs economy: “This overall drop can be attributed largely to a combination of vaccinations and states loosening restrictions. It will take far more time for us to reduce the unemployment rate to pre-pandemic levels than it did for the virus to reverse over a decade of job growth, though.”
The report considered all states and the District of Columbia. It took the jobless rates as of December 2021 and compared them to December 2019, January 2020 and December 2020. It also looked at jobless claims in December 2021 and December 2019.
The state with the largest drop in the percentage of people unemployed between December 2019 and December 2021 was Nebraska, where the figure dropped 43.8%, the largest decline by far over that period.
These are the 20 states with the largest percentage decrease in unemployment from December 2019 and December 2021:
|State||Rate||Change From 2019|
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