South Dakota, Florida, Rhode Island, Nebraska, and Idaho are all thriving, operating where or above where their economies were in early March 2020, before the pandemic forced businesses to close and workers and students stayed at home.
The index consists of a basket of economic indicators that includes unemployment rates, unemployment benefit entitlements, consumer spending and consumer behavior.
South Dakota’s economy is at 106% of its pre-pandemic strength, while Florida’s economy is 101%, according to the index. The other three states are working 100% at the level before Covid.
Nebraska and South Dakota also have the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 2.8% in April, compared to the nationwide rate of 6.1%. While New Hampshire and Utah also have 2.8% unemployment, their back-to-normal benefits are lower at 95% and 94%, respectively.
New York – the pandemic Epicenter in the first months of the outbreak – has the longest road back to normal. The state is only working at 79% of its pre-pandemic levels, and its The April unemployment rate was 8.2%, the third highest in the country, behind Hawaii and California.
The data shows once again how uneven the recovery is.
The labor market is also recovering at different speeds. Countries with larger service industries or those that are more dependent on tourism have a harder time recovering than others.
And although the country’s economy as a whole is almost back to its pre-pandemic strength, we could face a difficult home stretch: Consumers are spending again, but prices are rising everywhere; Millions of workers are unemployed, but companies cannot find qualified personnel; Daycare centers and schools are not yet fully utilized again, which makes it difficult for parents to resume their working lives before Covid.
However, most economists predict that the summer will continue to boost the US economy as more pandemic restrictions are eased.