The state employment data for March was released this week. The remarkable finding is that there are now 13 states that have fully recovered all the jobs lost from early 2020 when COVID hit these shores.
Guess what! Twelve of the thirteen are red states. Four of the five states that have recovered 95% or fewer of their jobs are blue states like New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.
We think there are two explanations for the slow recovery of jobs in blue states. First, because blue states had more severe lockdowns, they lost more jobs in the first place. Second, the blue states with slow job recoveries also tend to be states with high welfare benefits, and so workers in those states are in less of a hurry to get back on the job.
The chart shows the 13 states that have recovered all of their jobs (i.e., have exceeded 100% of their pre-pandemic employment).