Special Report

State Economies Hit Hardest By the COVID-19 Recession

The U.S. economy reported its worst quarterly decline in modern history during the COVID-19 pandemic, with gross domestic product shrinking at an annual rate of 31.4% in the second quarter. The economy bounced back in the third quarter, but efforts to contain the virus’s spread throughout 2020 still resulted in a 3.5% annual economic contraction in the United States.

Arriving on the heels of a historic period of growth, COVID-19 brought about a decline in gross domestic product in every state in the country. However, no two state economies are alike, and partially as a result, some states were hit far harder than others. 

Using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states hit hardest by the COVID-19 recession. Declines in GDP range from as little as -0.1% to as much as -8.0%, depending on the state. 

The sectors hardest hit by the pandemic were those related to travel and tourism, such as arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services. As nonessential travel ground to a halt nationwide in 2020, the sector contracted by 27.7%, more than any other. Other sectors, like oil and gas extraction, were also hard hit by public health measures, as reduced demand for fuel gave way to plummeting oil prices. These are the 27 most traveled countries before the pandemic

As economic output fell nationwide, millions of Americans lost their jobs. Overall employment declined by 5.8% in 2020. While the April national unemployment rate declined to 6.1%, a considerable improvement to the peak-pandemic rate of 14.8%, the U.S. has a long way to go before returning to full employment. Here is a look at the 39 states where people gave up looking for work during the pandemic

Click here to see the state economies hit hardest by the COVID-19 recession.
Click here to see our detailed methodology.

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