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These States Have the Best Chance To Bounce Back From the Coronavirus Unemployment Tsunami

Levi Leidy

The novel coronavirus has taken the U.S. — and the world — by storm, temporarily paralyzing many of the industries that we’ve come to rely on. In the week beginning April 13, more than 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment, bringing the total to over 26 million new unemployment claims since the crisis hit in mid-March. 

Although Congress passed a $2 trillion “rescue” package that provided stimulus money to most taxpayers and increased unemployment insurance payments by $600 a week, these benefits are not enough for many working families. If anything, they could be compared to patching a leaky roof with duct tape. In one word: unsustainable. 

Whether another stimulus bill is passed or not, local economies won’t begin to truly recover until the stay-at-home orders are lifted. Once officials can find a safe way for Americans to go back to work, there will be a tangible path forward to healing the damage that the virus has dealt. That leaves the question: Which states will recover the quickest from the current unemployment crisis? 

For this study, GOBankingRates found the change in the overall unemployment rate for each state between the months of January and March, as well as the unemployment change in the states’ top industries. These factors were used to determine not only which states experienced the highest jump in unemployment, but also which states were impacted the most due to the industries that drive their economies. The study is ranked from the states least affected by unemployment to the states most affected, with those high-unemployment states being the ones most likely to see a generous recovery once the stay-at-home orders are lifted. 

Oklahoma and Alaska are among the states that have seen a lesser impact from COVID-19. In fact, both states actually experienced a decrease in overall unemployment from January to March. And in both states, more than 20% of the workforce is employed in a government job, which is one of the more secure fields to work in right now. By contrast, states such as Nebraska and Florida have experienced severe hikes in unemployment, with rates increasing by nearly 45% and 54%, respectively. In addition, among the states’ top industries are education and health services, and trade, transportation and utilities, which are the third- and fourth-most-affected workforces in the United States. Unemployment rates in these industries have increased by over 28%. 

States that have experienced this crippling rise in unemployment are the most likely to bounce back once businesses begin to reopen. As the stay-at-home orders are lifted, the industries that have been most affected will be able to hire back many of the employees they had to let go.

See if your state is among those that might see a quicker recovery from the coronavirus unemployment crisis. And, if you work in one of the most vulnerable and rapidly changing industries, have hope that things will turn around for you sooner rather than later. 

Last updated: April 29, 2020

50. Idaho

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 2.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -7.14%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.98%)
    • Government (16.81%)
    • Education and health services (14.46%)

Related: The 20 Industries That Will Never Be the Same After the Coronavirus

49. Oklahoma

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -6.06%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (20.93%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.86%)
    • Education and health services (14.13%)

48. Alaska

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 6.0%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -6.67%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (24.13%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (20.05%)
    • Education and health services (15.55%)

47. Mississippi

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 5.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -3.64%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (20.92%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.97%)
    • Education and health services (12.77%)

46. North Dakota

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.3%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 2.2%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -4.35%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (21.04%)
    • Government (18.95%)
    • Education and health services (15.39%)

45. Minnesota

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.2%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -3.13%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (18.47%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.83%)
    • Government (14.30%)

44. South Dakota

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.4%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -2.94%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.46%)
    • Government (18.04%)
    • Education and health services (16.76%)

43. Maryland

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (18.06%)
    • Education and health services (17.01%)
    • Professional and business services (16.91%)

42. Hawaii

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.7%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 2.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -3.70%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Leisure and hospitality (19.39%)
    • Government (19.30%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.74%)

41. Wisconsin

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.4%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -2.86%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.82%)
    • Manufacturing (16.15%)
    • Education and health services (15.70%)

40. Kansas

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.70%)
    • Government (18.25%)
    • Education and health services (14.24%)

39. Oregon

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.40%)
    • Education and health services (15.57%)
    • Government (15.46%)

Check Out: State-by-State Guide on Companies That Are Hiring Right Now

38. Wyoming

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (23.78%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.91%)
    • Leisure and hospitality (12.81%)

37. Montana

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.60%)
    • Government (18.66%)
    • Education and health services (16.29%)

36. Connecticut

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (20.23%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.49%)
    • Government (13.96%)

35. New Hampshire

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.6%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 2.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (20.19%)
    • Education and health services (18.26%)
    • Government (13.04%)

34. New Jersey

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.8%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (21.13%)
    • Education and health services (17.19%)
    • Professional and business services (16.35%)

33. Maine

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.2%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 3.23%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (20.37%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.57%)
    • Government (15.91%)

32. South Carolina

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.4%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 2.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 8.33%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.60%)
    • Government (16.99%)
    • Professional and business services (13.71%)

31. Tennessee

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 6.06%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (20.68%)
    • Education and health services (14.22%)
    • Government (13.87%)

30. Indiana

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.2%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 3.23%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.00%)
    • Manufacturing (16.85%)
    • Education and health services (15.30%)

29. Massachusetts

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 2.9%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 3.57%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (22.07%)
    • Professional and business services (16.24%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (15.75%)

28. Michigan

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.1%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 7.89%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.04%)
    • Education and health services (15.30%)
    • Professional and business services (14.73%)

27. North Carolina

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.6%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.4%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 22.22%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.48%)
    • Government (15.97%)
    • Professional and business services (14.02%)

26. New York

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 18.42%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (22.12%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (15.74%)
    • Government (15.13%)

Learn: How To File for Unemployment and What To Do After Losing Your Job

25. Virginia

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.7%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 22.22%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Professional and business services (18.98%)
    • Government (17.92%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (16.19%)

24. New Mexico

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.9%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 22.92%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (21.96%)
    • Education and health services (16.51%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (15.99%)

23. West Virginia

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 5.0%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 6.1%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 22.00%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (21.43%)
    • Education and health services (18.04%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.69%)

22. Arizona

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 22.22%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.49%)
    • Education and health services (15.91%)
    • Professional and business services (15.03%)

21. Delaware

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.0%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.1%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 27.50%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.60%)
    • Education and health services (17.39%)
    • Government (14.30%)

20. Alabama

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.7%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 29.63%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (18.89%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.61%)
    • Manufacturing (12.94%)

19. Missouri

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 28.57%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.72%)
    • Education and health services (16.67%)
    • Government (15.03%)

18. Washington

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.9%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.1%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 30.77%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.65%)
    • Government (16.83%)
    • Education and health services (14.41%)

17. Louisiana

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 5.3%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 6.9%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 30.19%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.03%)
    • Government (16.69%)
    • Education and health services (16.20%)

16. Pennsylvania

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.7%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 6.0%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 27.66%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (21.41%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.48%)
    • Professional and business services (13.46%)

15. Texas

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.7%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 34.29%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.64%)
    • Government (15.29%)
    • Professional and business services (14.09%)

14. Iowa

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 32.14%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.50%)
    • Government (16.52%)
    • Education and health services (14.79%)

13. Illinois

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 31.43%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.72%)
    • Education and health services (15.51%)
    • Professional and business services (15.29%)

Read: 17 Experts’ Predictions on When We Will Bounce Back From COVID-19

12. Georgia

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.2%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 35.48%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (20.56%)
    • Professional and business services (15.40%)
    • Government (14.88%)

11. Ohio

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.1%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 34.15%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.38%)
    • Education and health services (16.98%)
    • Government (13.98%)

10. Kentucky

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.3%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.8%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 34.88%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (20.56%)
    • Government (15.97%)
    • Education and health services (14.77%)

9. Vermont

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.4%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.2%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 33.33%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (20.97%)
    • Government (18.05%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.09%)

8. California

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.9%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 35.90%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.42%)
    • Education and health services (16.22%)
    • Professional and business services (15.61%)

7. Arkansas

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.8%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 37.14%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.88%)
    • Government (16.45%)
    • Education and health services (15.37%)

6. Rhode Island

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.4%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 35.29%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (21.72%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (15.49%)
    • Professional and business services (13.47%)

5. Utah

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 44.00%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.67%)
    • Government (16.24%)
    • Professional and business services (14.00%)

4. Nebraska

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.9%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.2%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 44.83%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.24%)
    • Government (16.78%)
    • Education and health services (15.31%)

3. Florida

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 53.57%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (20.12%)
    • Professional and business services (15.57%)
    • Education and health services (15.01%)

Look: Companies Set To Make the Most Money During the Coronavirus Crisis

2. Colorado

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 80.00%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.14%)
    • Government (16.37%)
    • Professional and business services (15.96%)

1. Nevada

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.6%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 6.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 75.00%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Leisure and hospitality (24.86%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.14%)
    • Professional and business services (14.30%)

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: In order to find out which states have the best chance to bounce back from the wave of unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic, GOBankingRates first had to define “bounce back.” To bounce back, a state had to have experienced a significant increase in unemployment, and the state’s top industries also had to see equally significant unemployment — the assumption being big losses equals big opportunity for recovery.

GOBankingRates collected both the January 2020 and March 2020 unemployment rates for each state as sourced from the corresponding State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) News Releases from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These two rates were then compared to give (1) the percentage change in unemployment from January to March, with the highest rise in unemployment being the best. GOBankingRates then found the (2) national unemployment for each nonfarm industry as sourced from the Current Population Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and conducted the same comparison and scoring as above. Next, GOBankingRates found the percentage of the labor force each industry employs in each state as sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Table 3: Employees on nonfarm payrolls by state and selected industry sector, seasonally adjusted. Using each state’s largest three industries in terms of employment, GOBankingRates took each industry’s score from factor No. 2 and multiplied it by the percentage of the workforce it made up in each state to get scores for factors No. 3-5 representing each state’s top three industries.

Factors No. 1 and 3-5 were then combined and scored with the highest score being the best. All data was collected on and up to date as of April 27, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: These States Have the Best Chance To Bounce Back From the Coronavirus Unemployment Tsunami