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Tuesday, December 26, 2023
Hawaii slowest to recover pandemic job losses
By Selected News Articles @ 2:08 AM :: 1432 Views :: Hawaii Statistics, Labor, COVID-19
State Job losses between February and April 2020 Job gains between April 2020 and October 2023 Share of lost jobs recovered
District of Columbia 65,600 41,700 64%
Hawaii 129,300 105,100 81%
Rhode Island 98,100 84,700 86%
Maryland 388,300 350,400 90%
Vermont 68,200 61,900 91%
Louisiana 272,600 250,400 92%
New York 1,944,900 1,814,400 93%
West Virginia 93,900 88,700 94%
North Dakota 44,600 42,500 95%
Michigan 1,060,400 1,019,400 96%


The nation's capital is struggling more than any state in the country to recover pandemic job losses

by Eliza Relman, Business Insider, Dec 24, 2023

In the two months after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US in the spring of 2020, about 22 million US jobs disappeared. It took 29 months for the country as a whole to fully recover those jobs. But the recovery has been uneven. While certain places have welcomed many new residents and growing payrolls, other states and cities have struggled to restore their pre-pandemic economies.

The nation's capital is in the worst spot, lagging behind every state in the country in recovering those jobs lost during the first months of the pandemic.

As of October 2023, DC had only recovered 64% of the jobs it lost during March and April 2020, while 41 states have recovered all of their losses and some have seen employment surge in recent years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly estimates for state employment.

Hawaii, Rhode Island, Maryland, Vermont, Louisiana, New York, West Virginia, North Dakota, and Michigan also haven't recovered all of their jobs lost to the pandemic.

The uneven employment recovery has much to do with where people have chosen to move since the virus threw the country into an economic tailspin. Many who've shifted to remote or hybrid work have left cities like Washington, San Francisco, and New York and moved to more affordable, warmer, or otherwise more attractive locales in the South, Southwest, and Mountain West.

Idaho and Utah saw the highest employment gains in the country since the early months of the pandemic. Texas, Florida, and North Carolina saw the next-strongest gains.

One major cause of DC's particularly dismal jobs numbers is its low office occupancy downtown. The city has long been heavily reliant on commuters from outside the District, many of whom now work remotely, while federal workers have been particularly slow to return to in-person work.

"Fewer commuters means less people buying goods or services at DC shops, restaurants, and businesses," said Daniel Burge, an economic policy expert at the DC Policy Center.

The nation's capital has also seen a decline in federal employment in the city over the last few years. The region is set to lose another 8,000 federal jobs in the coming months, according to researchers at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government.

"The federal government, at least in conventional wisdom, has traditionally acted as a buffer for DC during recessions — it would act in a counter-cyclical manner, but right now I don't think that's the case," Burge said.

Like many other cities, the leisure and hospitality sector has also taken a big hit. But jobs in the professional and business services sector are also struggling.

The pain of pandemic job losses isn't being felt evenly across city residents. DC has the worst racial unemployment gap between Black and white residents in the country. The city's Black unemployment rate was seven times higher than its white unemployment rate in 2022, according to the DC Fiscal Policy Institute.


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