Blue States Still Struggling With Job Losses Years After Pandemic

Economists argue that severe lockdown regulations were a major factor in the continued unemployment that certain blue states experienced as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The following states and DC have still not quite recovered from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on their workforces: New York, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Vermont, and  Hawaii. Although every state and the District of Columbia is facing its own unique economic crisis, economists believe that the severe pandemic limitations that were put on top of their oppressive economic environments are contributing factors to the sluggish development and recovery of these economies. 

E.J. Antoni, a research fellow at the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget at the Heritage Foundation, found that the states ruled by Democrats, which ignored medical data and locked down for a long time, were the most severely impacted. The economies of these states were the slowest to recover, and several of them are still struggling.

The greatest number of jobs lost in the nation’s capital occurred in April when the number of people employed fell from 801,900 to 767,400 as a result of the pandemic.  There were roughly 27,800 fewer jobs in Hawaii. While 6,200 were lost between 2020 and 2024 in New York, 13,100 jobs are still below pre-pandemic levels in Massachusetts. There are 2,752,000 fewer jobs in Maryland, which is somewhat less than in February 2020.  In Vermont, there are 315,800 fewer jobs, which is lower than their levels before the pandemic began.

While the U.S. economy lost about 22 million jobs after the pandemic began, there were approximately six million jobs available in April compared to February 2020. Four Republican-controlled states, including Idaho, Utah, Florida, and Texas, had the fastest relative increase in employment since February 2020. These states either did not mandate harsh restrictions or swiftly repealed COVID-19 limitations.

Kathy Hochul, the governor of New York, warned in 2023 that the state might face budget difficulties in fiscal year 2025 due to a projected drop in tax revenues since the state’s population fell by more than 530,000 from 2020 to 2023.

The principal economist of the America First Policy Institute, Michael Faulkender, made the following point: if fewer individuals live in your state because they have migrated to a more free state, then your workforce will also be smaller.