(The Center Square) – As the country gradually recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois is falling behind the national pace.
According to the personal finance website WalletHub, Illinois is ranked 40th in the nation in its efforts to recover from the pandemic.
The website used 21 metrics to determine the ranking, including vaccination rates, consumer spending, and the real GDP vs. pre-COVID-19 levels.
Analyst Jill Gonzalez said overall governors who didn’t implement strict restrictions on businesses and the public are experiencing a faster comeback.
“Kind of the policies and the politics here, which states never closed at all or closed a lot less, they are doing better economically,” Gonzalez said.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker imposed restrictions in March 2020, including the closure of nonessential businesses. While most restrictions have since been relaxed, the state is expected to fully reopen this Friday lifting most business and gathering limits.
For some, it will be too late, and many businesses, including hundreds of bars and restaurants, have already closed their doors permanently.
Illinois’ unemployment rate is hovering around 7%, which is the worst in the Midwest and ranks 41st in the nation. The national average is 6.1%.
Gonzalez said the economy should get a boost as people who have been stuck inside are beginning to spend money.
“We also saw a lot of people pay down debt over the pandemic and the beginning of 2021, so that is also good news,” Gonzalez said.
Iowa was ranked first for the quickest recovery. Gov. Kim Reynolds months ago ended mask mandates and gathering restrictions. Nebraska and Alaska rank 2nd and 3rd.
The three states with the slowest recovery are Michigan, West Virginia and Oregon.