One of the ways in which the federal government has sought to “help” Americans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been by offering enhanced unemployment benefits that add to state-level payouts.
Republicans had long argued that the federal payments only served to foster unemployment and discourage out-of-work Americans from looking for jobs. Now, statistics shared by Townhall seem to support their assertions.
According to Townhall, a recent study showed that nearly all of the states that have bounced back from pandemic-related surges in employment are led by the GOP, while Democrat-led states continue to suffer high unemployment rates well into the summer of 2021.
Some have suggested this is because Republican-led states have increasingly ended their participation in the federal supplemental unemployment benefits program, removing the incentive for workers to remain out of work. Democrat-run states, meanwhile, still seem to be milking the federal money for all it’s worth.
Crunching the numbers by state
The financial site WalletHub recently compared June unemployment statistics for all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., with the respective unemployment rates at certain points in 2019 and 2020.
Using five different metrics in all, the site attempted to uncover which states were recovering best from COVID-19 in terms of getting people back to work.
Perhaps predictably, it found that the best-performing states were almost exclusively Republican-led, with the top 10 comprising Nebraska (currently sitting at 2.5% unemployment), Utah (at 2.7%), Idaho (3.0%), South Dakota (2.9%), Alabama (3.3%), New Hampshire (2.9%), Vermont (3.1%), Montana (3.7%), Kansas (3.7%), and Oklahoma (3.7%).
The 10 worst performing states, all Democrat-led, were Hawaii (7.7%), Nevada (7.8%), Connecticut (7.9%), New Mexico (7.9%), New York (7.7%), California (7.7%), New Jersey (7.3%), Louisiana (6.9%), Illinois (7.2%), and the District of Columbia (7.0%).
With the exception of Vermont, the key similarities among the fastest-recovering states included Republican leadership, an easing of pandemic-related business restrictions, and a rollback of the enhanced federal unemployment benefits, reports said.
Conversely, the states that lagged behind shared Democratic leadership, continued to impose hefty restrictions on businesses, and continued to allow for the extra federal benefits for unemployed workers.
Republican governors vindicated
Even without WalletHub’s study of the various unemployment metrics over the past two years, it was already obvious to many that conservative-led states were enjoying a quicker economic recovery than their Democrat counterparts. That fact was recently highlighted by the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) in a press release.
“Evidenced by skyrocketing inflation and record-high unemployment rates in Democrat-led states, it’s clear that [President Joe] Biden’s disastrous economic policies and the Democrat governors going along with them are to blame,” RGA Communications Director Jesse Hunt said. Hunt went on:
As Republican governors continue to challenge Biden’s overreaching federal policies, defend American freedoms, and foster a business-friendly environment, their states are the best states to earn a living and pursue the American Dream.