(The Center Square) – Virginia’s unemployment recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to stagnate when compared to other states and is currently one of the slowest in the country, according to a new report from the financial website WalletHub.
For unemployment recovery in the last week, the commonwealth ranked 49 and for recovery since the beginning of the pandemic, it ranked 38. The rankings included the District of Columbia.
The commonwealth’s unemployment claims in the last week were nearly 400% higher than they were in the same week in 2019, which was third worst. They were also 235% higher than they were in the start of 2020, which is also the third worst.
Last week’s unemployment claims were about 4% lower than they were in the same week of 2020 when a lot of economic restrictions were still in place. This was the second worst in the nation. The state also saw a 73.5% reduction in unemployment claims from the past week when compared to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was the 14th worst.
“This indicates that Virginia is still struggling with unemployment and economic recovery,” WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez told The Center Square.
More than half of the unemployment claims came from healthcare and social assistance, retail trade, administrative and waste services and accommodation and food services, according to the Virginia Employment Commission. The state had 6,179 initial claims and 44,435 continued claims. Most of the continued claims were filed by people who began filing for unemployment during the pandemic.
When Virginia ended most of its COVID-19 restrictions earlier in the year, the unemployment rate began to drop significantly, but in recent months the recovery has been nearly stagnant. The state still maintains an unemployment rate lower than most states, but is struggling to move back to its pre-pandemic numbers.
Some members of the business community, including small businesses and particularly lodging and hospitality, have reported worker shortages. Some of the lead causes have been fewer overall job applicants and fewer qualified job applicants. Additional pandemic unemployment benefits, in which people received an extra $300, may have contributed to these numbers, but that program ended last weekend.
The best states from last week were Arkansas, South Carolina, Arizona and Idaho and the worst were New Mexico, Louisiana, Virginia and Rhode Island. The best states since the start of the pandemic were Florida, South Carolina, New Hampshire and South Dakota and the worst were Rhode Island, Delaware, New Mexico and the District of Columbia.