GOBankingRates

These States Have the Best Chance To Bounce Back From the Coronavirus Unemployment Tsunami

Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

The novel coronavirus has taken the U.S. — and the world — by storm, temporarily paralyzing many of the industries that we’ve come to rely on. 

Although Congress passed a $2 trillion “rescue” package that provided stimulus money to most taxpayers and increased unemployment insurance payments by $600 a week, these benefits were not enough for many working families. If anything, they could be compared to patching a leaky roof with duct tape. In one word: unsustainable. 

Whether another stimulus bill is passed or not, local economies won’t begin to truly recover until the stay-at-home orders are lifted for good. Once officials can find a safe way for all Americans to go back to work and school, there will be a tangible path forward to healing the damage that the virus has dealt. That leaves the question: Which states will recover the quickest from the current unemployment crisis? 

For this study, GOBankingRates found the change in the overall unemployment rate for each state between the months of January and March, as well as the unemployment change in the states’ top industries. These factors were used to determine not only which states experienced the highest jump in unemployment, but also which states were impacted the most due to the industries that drive their economies. The study is ranked from the states least affected by unemployment to the states most affected, with those high-unemployment states being the ones most likely to see a generous recovery once the stay-at-home orders are lifted. 

See if your state is among those that might see a quicker recovery from the coronavirus unemployment crisis. And, if you work in one of the most vulnerable and rapidly changing industries, have hope that things will turn around for you sooner rather than later. 

Last updated: Oct. 8, 2020

Make Your Money Work Better for You
Ric Schafer / Shutterstock.com

50. Idaho

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 2.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -7.14%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.98%)
    • Government (16.81%)
    • Education and health services (14.46%)

Related: The 20 Industries That Will Never Be the Same After the Coronavirus

Manuel Hurtado / Shutterstock.com

49. Oklahoma

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -6.06%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (20.93%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.86%)
    • Education and health services (14.13%)
brytta / Getty Images/iStockphoto

48. Alaska

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 6.0%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -6.67%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (24.13%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (20.05%)
    • Education and health services (15.55%)
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

47. Mississippi

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 5.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -3.64%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (20.92%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.97%)
    • Education and health services (12.77%)
Guy RD / Shutterstock.com

46. North Dakota

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.3%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 2.2%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -4.35%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (21.04%)
    • Government (18.95%)
    • Education and health services (15.39%)

Make Your Money Work Better for You
3841128876 / Shutterstock.com

45. Minnesota

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.2%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -3.13%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (18.47%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.83%)
    • Government (14.30%)
James Gabbert / Shutterstock.com

44. South Dakota

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.4%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -2.94%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.46%)
    • Government (18.04%)
    • Education and health services (16.76%)
Joesboy / Getty Images/iStockphoto

43. Maryland

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (18.06%)
    • Education and health services (17.01%)
    • Professional and business services (16.91%)
©Shutterstock.com

42. Hawaii

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.7%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 2.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -3.70%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Leisure and hospitality (19.39%)
    • Government (19.30%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.74%)
f11photo / Getty Images/iStockphoto

41. Wisconsin

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.4%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: -2.86%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.82%)
    • Manufacturing (16.15%)
    • Education and health services (15.70%)
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

40. Kansas

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.70%)
    • Government (18.25%)
    • Education and health services (14.24%)

Make Your Money Work Better for You
franckreporter / Getty Images/iStockphoto

39. Oregon

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.40%)
    • Education and health services (15.57%)
    • Government (15.46%)

Check Out: Companies That Are Hiring for Remote Jobs Right Now

©Shutterstock.com

38. Wyoming

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (23.78%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.91%)
    • Leisure and hospitality (12.81%)
©Shutterstock.com

37. Montana

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.60%)
    • Government (18.66%)
    • Education and health services (16.29%)
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

36. Connecticut

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (20.23%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.49%)
    • Government (13.96%)
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

35. New Hampshire

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.6%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 2.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (20.19%)
    • Education and health services (18.26%)
    • Government (13.04%)

Make Your Money Work Better for You
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

34. New Jersey

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.8%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 0%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (21.13%)
    • Education and health services (17.19%)
    • Professional and business services (16.35%)
davidmarxphoto / Shutterstock.com

33. Maine

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.2%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 3.23%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (20.37%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.57%)
    • Government (15.91%)
skiserge1 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

32. South Carolina

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.4%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 2.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 8.33%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.60%)
    • Government (16.99%)
    • Professional and business services (13.71%)
KennStilger47 / Shutterstock.com

31. Tennessee

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 6.06%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (20.68%)
    • Education and health services (14.22%)
    • Government (13.87%)
f11photo / Getty Images/iStockphoto

30. Indiana

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.2%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 3.23%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.00%)
    • Manufacturing (16.85%)
    • Education and health services (15.30%)
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

29. Massachusetts

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 2.9%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 3.57%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (22.07%)
    • Professional and business services (16.24%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (15.75%)

Make Your Money Work Better for You
ShriramPatki / Getty Images/iStockphoto

28. Michigan

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.1%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 7.89%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.04%)
    • Education and health services (15.30%)
    • Professional and business services (14.73%)
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

27. North Carolina

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.6%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.4%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 22.22%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.48%)
    • Government (15.97%)
    • Professional and business services (14.02%)
deberarr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

26. New York

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 18.42%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (22.12%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (15.74%)
    • Government (15.13%)

Learn: How To File for Unemployment and What To Do After Losing Your Job

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

25. Virginia

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.7%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 22.22%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Professional and business services (18.98%)
    • Government (17.92%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (16.19%)
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

24. New Mexico

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.9%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 22.92%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (21.96%)
    • Education and health services (16.51%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (15.99%)

Make Your Money Work Better for You
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

23. West Virginia

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 5.0%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 6.1%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 22.00%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (21.43%)
    • Education and health services (18.04%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.69%)
benedek / Getty Images/iStockphoto

22. Arizona

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 22.22%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.49%)
    • Education and health services (15.91%)
    • Professional and business services (15.03%)
aimintang / Getty Images

21. Delaware

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.0%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.1%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 27.50%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.60%)
    • Education and health services (17.39%)
    • Government (14.30%)
Michael Warren / Getty Images/iStockphoto

20. Alabama

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.7%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 29.63%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Government (18.89%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.61%)
    • Manufacturing (12.94%)
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

19. Missouri

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 28.57%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.72%)
    • Education and health services (16.67%)
    • Government (15.03%)
Yan Lu / Getty Images/iStockphoto

18. Washington

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.9%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.1%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 30.77%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.65%)
    • Government (16.83%)
    • Education and health services (14.41%)
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

17. Louisiana

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 5.3%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 6.9%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 30.19%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.03%)
    • Government (16.69%)
    • Education and health services (16.20%)
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

16. Pennsylvania

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.7%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 6.0%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 27.66%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (21.41%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.48%)
    • Professional and business services (13.46%)
Ron and Patty Thomas / Getty Images/iStockphoto

15. Texas

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.7%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 34.29%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.64%)
    • Government (15.29%)
    • Professional and business services (14.09%)
Daydreambelieverme / Shutterstock.com

14. Iowa

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.7%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 32.14%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.50%)
    • Government (16.52%)
    • Education and health services (14.79%)
Randall Runtsch / Shutterstock.com

13. Illinois

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 31.43%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.72%)
    • Education and health services (15.51%)
    • Professional and business services (15.29%)

Read: 25 Experts’ Predictions on When We Will Bounce Back From COVID-19

rodclementphotography / Getty Images/iStockphoto

12. Georgia

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.1%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.2%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 35.48%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (20.56%)
    • Professional and business services (15.40%)
    • Government (14.88%)
Ronald E Grafe / Getty Images/iStockphoto

11. Ohio

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.1%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 34.15%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.38%)
    • Education and health services (16.98%)
    • Government (13.98%)
Thomas Kelley / Getty Images

10. Kentucky

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 4.3%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.8%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 34.88%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (20.56%)
    • Government (15.97%)
    • Education and health services (14.77%)
Ron_Thomas / Getty Images

9. Vermont

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.4%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.2%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 33.33%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (20.97%)
    • Government (18.05%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.09%)
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

8. California

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.9%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 5.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 35.90%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.42%)
    • Education and health services (16.22%)
    • Professional and business services (15.61%)
Michael Warren / Getty Images/iStockphoto

7. Arkansas

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.8%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 37.14%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.88%)
    • Government (16.45%)
    • Education and health services (15.37%)
©Shutterstock.com

6. Rhode Island

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.4%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 35.29%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Education and health services (21.72%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (15.49%)
    • Professional and business services (13.47%)
SerrNovik / Getty Images/iStockphoto

5. Utah

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 3.6%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 44.00%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.67%)
    • Government (16.24%)
    • Professional and business services (14.00%)
skodonnell / Getty Images/iStockphoto

4. Nebraska

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.9%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.2%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 44.83%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (19.24%)
    • Government (16.78%)
    • Education and health services (15.31%)
©Shutterstock.com

3. Florida

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.8%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 53.57%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (20.12%)
    • Professional and business services (15.57%)
    • Education and health services (15.01%)

Look: 25 Companies Making the Most Money From Coronavirus

Paul Gana / Shutterstock.com

2. Colorado

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 2.5%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 4.5%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 80.00%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (17.14%)
    • Government (16.37%)
    • Professional and business services (15.96%)
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

1. Nevada

  • January 2020 unemployment rate: 3.6%
  • March 2020 unemployment rate: 6.3%
  • Change in unemployment from January to March: 75.00%
  • Top industries (total workforce percentage in January):
    • Leisure and hospitality (24.86%)
    • Trade, transportation and utilities (18.14%)
    • Professional and business services (14.30%)

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: In order to find out which states have the best chance to bounce back from the wave of unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic, GOBankingRates first had to define “bounce back.” To bounce back, a state had to have experienced a significant increase in unemployment, and the state’s top industries also had to see equally significant unemployment — the assumption being big losses equals big opportunity for recovery.

GOBankingRates collected both the January 2020 and March 2020 unemployment rates for each state as sourced from the corresponding State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) News Releases from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These two rates were then compared to give (1) the percentage change in unemployment from January to March, with the highest rise in unemployment being the best. GOBankingRates then found the (2) national unemployment for each nonfarm industry as sourced from the Current Population Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and conducted the same comparison and scoring as above. Next, GOBankingRates found the percentage of the labor force each industry employs in each state as sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Table 3: Employees on nonfarm payrolls by state and selected industry sector, seasonally adjusted. Using each state’s largest three industries in terms of employment, GOBankingRates took each industry’s score from factor No. 2 and multiplied it by the percentage of the workforce it made up in each state to get scores for factors No. 3-5 representing each state’s top three industries.

Factors No. 1 and 3-5 were then combined and scored with the highest score being the best. All data was collected on and up to date as of April 27, 2020.