The U.S. economy reported its worst quarterly decline in modern history during the COVID-19 pandemic, with gross domestic product shrinking at an annual rate of 31.4% in the second quarter. The economy bounced back in the third quarter, but efforts to contain the virus's spread throughout 2020 still resulted in a 3.5% annual economic contraction in the United States.

Arriving on the heels of a historic period of growth, COVID-19 brought about a decline in gross domestic product in every state in the country. However, no two state economies are alike, and partially as a result, some states were hit far harder than others.

Along with neighboring Georgia and Virginia, North Carolina's economy contracted by 2.5% in 2020. Also like its neighbors that reported similar economic contractions, the fastest growing industry in the state was utilities, which expanded by 3.7%, and the fastest shrinking industry was arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services, which contracted by 27.4%.

Employment in North Carolina has also fallen in 2020, by 4.3%, resulting in a loss of nearly 200,000 jobs. Still, the state's monthly unemployment stands at 5.0%, slightly less than the 6.1% U.S. jobless rate.

States are ranked based on the percentage change in real GDP from 2019 to 2020. Data on GDP and industry-specific real GDP came from the BEA. Data on average annual employment and the seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate each came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

RankStateChange in GDP, 2020 (%)April 2021 unemployment (%)Change in nonfarm employment, 2020 (%)
1Hawaii-8.08.5-9.4
2Wyoming-7.05.4-4.1
3Oklahoma-6.14.3-4.9
4New York-5.98.2-10.3
5West Virginia-5.55.8-6.6
6Louisiana-5.57.3-1.8
7Vermont-5.42.9-9.3
8Michigan-5.44.9-5.8
9Alaska-4.96.7-8.7
10Tennessee-4.95.0-17.5
11New Hampshire-4.72.8-6.7
12Nevada-4.68.0-10.4
13Rhode Island-4.56.3-8.8
14Wisconsin-4.53.9-6.3
15Pennsylvania-4.47.41.9
16Maine-4.14.8-6.4
17Connecticut-4.18.1-7.7
18New Jersey-4.17.5-8.4
19South Carolina-4.15.0-5.1
20Illinois-4.07.1-7.1
21Ohio-4.04.7-6.1
22Delaware-3.96.4-6.0
23Massachusetts-3.86.5-9.0
24Minnesota-3.74.1-6.9
25Kentucky-3.74.7-5.6
26Missouri-3.64.1-4.8
27North Dakota-3.54.2-6.7
28Texas-3.56.7-4.3
29New Mexico-3.18.2-6.7
30Indiana-3.13.9-5.5
31Montana-3.03.7-3.1
32Kansas-3.03.5-4.6
33Florida-2.94.8-5.2
34Oregon-2.86.0-6.6
35Mississippi-2.86.2-4.3
36California-2.88.3-7.4
37Alabama-2.73.6-4.3
38Maryland-2.66.2-6.8
39Arkansas-2.64.4-3.0
40Georgia-2.54.3-4.6
41North Carolina-2.55.0-4.3
42Virginia-2.54.7-5.0
43Iowa-2.33.8-5.1
44Nebraska-2.12.8-3.6
45South Dakota-1.72.8-3.4
46Colorado-1.56.4-5.2
47Idaho-1.13.1-0.7
48Arizona-0.96.7-3.1
49Washington-0.75.5-5.3
50Utah-0.12.8-1.6