- Using average job growth over the last three months, this map shows how long it could take the economies of each state and DC to recover.
- Utah and Idaho are the only states that are above pre-pandemic employment.
- Several other states may not be too far behind.
The economy is gradually recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. The pace of recovery differs throughout the US, and almost every state is still below pre-pandemic employment.
But some states may be able to get back to pre-pandemic employment in just a few months.
Utah and Idaho are the only states that are above their February 2020 levels of nonfarm payroll employment, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to the latest release, Texas had the largest increase in monthly nonfarm payrolls in September at 95,800. Florida followed behind with a monthly gain of 84,500. Florida also had the largest monthly percent increase at 1.0%.
To estimate when states could reach their pre-pandemic employment, we used the most recent three-month averages of change in nonfarm payroll employment.
Five states that have yet to reach their pre-pandemic employment had negative averages — Maine, Wyoming, Tennessee, North Dakota, and Louisiana — so we couldn’t estimate their pace of recovery. Idaho also had a negative three-month average of change in nonfarm payroll employment but has already reached pre-pandemic employment. In fact, the state is 1.5% above pre-pandemic levels.
The following map highlights just how long it could take each state and DC to get back to employment levels from before the pandemic based on their recent job growth rates. Some states are only a few months away from getting back to pre-pandemic employment if they add jobs at the same pace as their most recent averages. Others did not see as much growth so could take longer to recover if they continue at this pace. You can hover over each state and DC for more info about each state’s employment situation and projection as of September 2021:
It’s important to note that the economy of each state differs and some were hit harder by the pandemic than others, so just how many jobs each state has to make up varies.
Texas and Arizona are just two to three months away from getting back to pre-pandemic levels if they continue job gains at this pace. For instance, Arizona’s three-month average job growth rate was around 7,000 in September, and it was just 21,000 jobs below its February 2020 level that month. That means if Arizona continues to add 7,000 jobs, it would be around pre-pandemic employment in about three months.
Other states won’t recover as soon, as highlighted in the above map. Some states could take another year if they continue to add as many jobs each month as their most recent three-month average changes, including California and New Jersey. Others may take even longer if they don’t add more jobs each month than their current averages, such as New York, Vermont, and Montana.
This is an updated version of our map that originally used data from the Bureau’s July 2021 release. We will continue to track employment recovery for each state and DC.