The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in thousands of employees leaving the workforce via layoffs, furloughs, or resignations due to health concerns. Now, we are faced with a labor crisis that has people wondering, “Which states will return to work soonest after COVID-19?”
It’s a valid concern as more states begin to open back up to travel and tourism, encouraging a return to the “norm.” However, how can businesses keep up with consumer demand when it’s such a struggle to stabilize and maintain optimal staffing levels? Let’s examine which states are likely to see employment rise and explain what employers can do to get back to their norm.
Evaluating Which States Will Return to Work Soonest After COVID-19
Industries and Occupations Hit Hardest by the Pandemic
First, it’s important to take note of which industries COVID-19 impacted the most. After all, certain states rely more heavily on specific industries than others.
The unemployment rate in the U.S. reached a shocking 14.7% in April 2020, with an estimated 20.5 million jobs lost. Here are the eight occupational fields that saw the most significant drops in employment:
- Leisure and Hospitality
- Travel and Transportation
States With the Highest Unemployment Rates
Now, fast forward to mid-2021 with a fresh look at unemployment rates by state, and we can gain even more insight into the effects of COVID-19. These are the 10 states with the highest rates of unemployment as of April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- Hawaii: 8.5%
- California: 8.3%
- New York: 8.2%
- New Mexico: 8.2%
- Connecticut: 8.1%
- Nevada: 8.0 %
- New Jersey: 7.5%
- District of Columbia: 7.5%
- Pennsylvania: 7.4%
- Louisiana: 7.3%
States Bouncing Back the Quickest
So, while unemployment rates have improved since being at a country-wide average of 14.7% in April 2020, there is still a long way to go before we return to the pre-pandemic average of 3.5%. However, with the rise in vaccination rates, reduction of unemployment benefits, and introduction of return-to-work incentives, some states have begun to bounce back.
WalletHub recently released findings on which states are making the biggest gains by comparing unemployment metrics from various dates relevant to the pandemic. Here are the top 10:
- South Dakota
- New Hampshire
Hire and Retain the Best Workers
The country is on its way back to pre-pandemic norms in terms of employment rates, and Sprockets is doing what we do best to help get businesses back on track. Our AI-powered platform empowers owners and operators to find the ideal new hires. Plus, it augments sourcing with free job posting ($400+ value) and virtual recruiters that send immediate alerts when they discover candidates who would be excellent fits for their teams.
It’s not magic — it’s logic. Schedule a demo today to see how Sprockets reveals shared characteristics among top-performing employees and incoming applicants to improve retention!