Who’s Recovering From COVID?

With the covid epidemic essentially over, states are scrambling to regain the ground they lost during the past year. Which states are recovering fastest? The conservative ones. The GOP “pounces” on new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics relating to job growth:

New data from the Labor Department speaks for itself:

* 16 of the top 20 states for jobs recovered since the coronavirus pandemic hit are led by Republican governors, including the top 13 states for jobs recovered. 18 of the top 20 have Republican legislatures.

* Out of the top 18 states with the lowest unemployment rates, 15 are led by Republican governors, including the seven states with the lowest unemployment rates.

*The 10 states with the highest unemployment rates are all led by Democrat governors.
The average unemployment rate for Republican-led states is just 4.5%, 1.6 points lower than the Democrat-led states’ average of 6.1%.

This is the chart:

This chart is based on the percentage of jobs lost during the epidemic that have been regained. I suspect that it underestimates the performance of red states, which probably didn’t lose as many jobs to begin with.

Economic discontinuities like the covid epidemic are occasions when, to some degree, the deck is reshuffled. Entrepreneurs whose businesses have been destroyed by shutdowns re-evaluate where they might want to re-open. Waitresses who have been out of work for a year due to a draconian shutdown ask themselves whether it is time to move to a different state. And so on. I don’t think it is surprising that in covid’s wake, the more dynamic economies of the red states will gain relative to more sluggish, and less business-friendly, blue states. Expect much more economic data along these lines in the months to come.

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