Four Republican-led states have recovered all the jobs they lost during the coronavirus pandemic and then some, while large blue states — like New York and California — continue to lag far behind the national average.
Texas, Arizona, Utah and Idaho have now added more jobs than they lost after COVID-19 began to impact the economy in the spring of 2020, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. overall lost more than 22 million jobs in March and April of that year, and by the end of 2021, the country was still 3.6 million positions short of pre-pandemic levels.
However, as of November — the most recent state-level data available — Texas now has about 28,000 more jobs than February of 2020, Arizona about 5,000 more, Utah 61,000 more and Idaho 14,500 more.
Texas & Arizona have joined Utah & Idaho in regaining all lost payrolls since beginning of pandemic … cohort of states has benefited from migration and outsized growth in retail, warehousing, tech, and transportation industries
@WSJ @USDOL @stlouisfed pic.twitter.com/z6EakqyXta
— Liz Ann Sonders (@LizAnnSonders) January 19, 2022
George Hammond, an economist at the University of Arizona, attributed his state’s bounceback to its COVID policies.
“Arizona rapidly returned to its prior peak of employment because compared to the nation we didn’t fall as far,” Hammond told the Journal. “One big reason is because the stay-at-home order in Arizona wasn’t very restrictive.”
He further noted that Arizona has seen strong population growth, meaning a large labor pool from which to draw.
“I think net migration was a big part of that [job growth],” Hammond said.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey told Fox News host Sean Hannity in May 2021 that Republican governors “came to some conclusions that we were going to prioritize lives and livelihoods, and all of us were going to err on the side of liberty and limited government.”
“It was going to be a light touch,” he explained. “We were going to listen, inform our citizens, trust our citizens. I believe Arizonans have common sense.”
“There is no winner in a COVID year, but you want to do the right thing, so that your state can navigate through it and come out of it healthier and stronger on the other side. That’s where Arizona is,” Ducey said.
Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that the top 10 states with the lowest unemployment rate all have Republican governors.
Meanwhile, the top 10 states with the highest unemployment rates, save Alaska, are all Democrat-led.
The worst include California, New York, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and Hawaii, which all have unemployment rates significantly above the national average of 3.9 percent.