Ranking of COVID Recovery Shows Wide Differences Across US

Ranking of COVID Recovery Shows Wide Differences Across US A health advisory rests on South Beach, Miami, Florida, at the height of the pandemic A health advisory rests on South Beach, Miami, Florida, at the height of the pandemic. (Alberto E. Tamargo/AP)

By Fran Beyer | Tuesday, 08 June 2021 12:32 PM

Two Midwest states have been the fastest — and slowest — in recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, a new ranking has determined.

With 42% of the nation fully vaccinated, the greater level of safety is expected to lead to more consumer confidence, surveyor WalletHub noted.

But its latest ranking to evaluate COVID-19 health, leisure and travel, the economy, and the labor market – measuring data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia – had some surprising findings about what states are pushing faster toward recovery.

According to the ranking, Iowa came in No. 1 for its overall recovery, while Michigan landed dead last.

Weighing economy and labor market conditions, Alabama was the top of the heap, and New York at the bottom. And measuring COVID health, South Dakota topped the nation and West Virginia was last.

Ranking leisure and travel, South Dakota was the nation's leader and Hawaii was dead-last.

Here are some other findings from the WalletHub ranking:

  • The five states with the highest share of the population fully vaccinated were Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island; the five with the lowest share were Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi.
  • States with the highest average daily restaurant visits were Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. Those with the lowest were Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, New York, and the District of Columbia.
  • States with the highest gross domestic product compared with pre-COVID levels were Utah, Washington, Arizona, Idaho, and Colorado; those with the lowest GDP compared with pre-COVID levels were West Virginia, New York, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Hawaii.
  • The lowest unemployment rates compared with pre-COVID levels were in Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, New Hampshire, and Utah; the highest rates were New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Colorado, and Hawaii.

"The most important contribution of the vax rollout is that it has mitigated uncertainty and so reduced fear — go to the jam-packed malls and this will be readily apparent," said Paul Harrington, a professor and director for the Center of Labor Markets and Policy at Drexel University told the pollster.

"The outlook in the coming months is very good," he said, but warned: "Does this create a very bright short-term outlook" that will go into "the long-term? That is for another story."