Commentary: Economically Free States Are Recovering from the COVID-19 Pandemic More Rapidly Than High Control States

The fact that our nation’s unemployment rate is approaching the low rate of 3.5% that was reached just prior to the pandemic should be a cause for celebration. But for a variety of reasons, the official unemployment number is misleading.

The employment situation is not as rosy as it may seem. There is a wide disparity among the states that can be explained by how much economic freedom they allow, including how severely each state shut down its economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Connecticut’s Job Growth Streak Ends with Loss of 1,700 Jobs

Connecticut’s nine-month job growth streak came to an end with a reported loss of 1,700 private-sector jobs in January.

One industry expert said the loss is reflective of the state’s dealings with the economy in recent years.

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U.S. Added 678K Jobs in February, While Unemployment Decreased Slightly

The U.S. economy added 678,000 jobs in February, according to a Friday report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), beating economists’ expectations.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 678,000 in February, according to the BLS report, while the unemployment rate dropped to 3.8%, a pandemic low. Job gains were most pronounced in the leisure and hospitality sectors, which added a total 179,000 jobs.

“The labor market continues to be quite hot,” Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed, told The Wall Street Journal. “It looks like the labor market is still primed for lots of strong employment growth.”

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Connecticut Slow in Job Growth, Won’t Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels Until 2023

Although Connecticut will add 60,000 jobs this year, the state won’t be back to pre-pandemic levels of employment until 2023, industry groups say.

“The inability to grow jobs at the national average or even at the top of the Northeast means that Connecticut’s economy is going to continue to grow slower than the rest of the country and the Northeast,” Chris DiPentima, president and CEO of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, told The Center Square. “The slow job growth means that businesses are not meeting the customer demand that they have. Connecticut, in turn, is not realizing the state’s total economic growth potential. Most businesses are hopeful that the state will put some policies in place to fuel growth and the jobs added each month will increase. This will help recover the jobs that we’ve lost before the end of this year.”

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Phoenix Six-Figure Job Growth Ranks Second Among Large U.S. Metros

Phoenix has the second highest percentage change in high-paying jobs out of a list of large U.S. metros, according to a Stessa report. 

Phoenix saw a 217.1% increase in six-figure jobs from 2015 to 2020, marking the second-largest percentage increase among the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. 

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Tennessee State Representative Chris Hurt Talks Ford Deal Points and Growth for West Tennessean’s

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Tennessee State Representative (R-82) Chris Hurt to the newsmakers line to discuss the success of the Ford Megasite deal while working through session.

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Tennessee State Representative Chris Todd Talks Mechanics and Concerns of New Ford Motor Mega Site Deal

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed State Representative (R-73) Chris Todd to the newsmakers line to discuss the mechanics of the For Motor Megasite deal.

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U.S. Economy Added 194,000 Jobs in September, Badly Missing Expectations

Person using a laptop, pointing to the screen

The U.S. economy reported an increase of 194,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate fell to 4.8%, according to Department of Labor statistics.

The number of unemployed people fell by 710,000 to 7.7  million, according to the Department of Labor statistics released Friday.   Economists projected that employers created 500,000f jobs in September, more than double the figure in August, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Despite the spike in employment, the labor market remains thin due to the pandemic, and job growth earlier in the year was considerably stronger, according to the WSJ.

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Arizona Fully Recovers Pandemic Job Losses

Person using a laptop, pointing to the screen

More than 100% of private sector jobs in Arizona have been recovered since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the August employment report. 

 The Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity report showed that Arizona has recovered 325,500 private-sector jobs since April 2020, representing 101% of private-sector jobs lost. 

 Between July and August, Arizona’s unemployment fell by about 13,000 people. The unemployment rate dropped from 6.6% to 6.2%, marking the largest rate decline of the year. 

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Arizona Ranks First in Nation for Small Business Growth

A new report from the payroll company PayChex ranked the states in order of small business job growth and Arizona came out No. 1, with nearly 6% growth over the past year. Phoenix ranked third among the country’s 20 most populated cities. The Arizona Legislature released a report shortly before that showing Arizona is in great condition, breaking records. The state passed historic tax cuts this year, preventing a 77% increase on small business taxes, reducing small business property taxes by 10%, and capping the maximum tax rate on businesses at 4.5%.

Frank Fiorelle, vice president of risk, compliance and data analytics at Paychex, explained that a lot of the job growth is due to the pandemic ending. “A lot of those restaurants are coming back online, opening the doors and turning on the lights, he said. He added that states which reopened their economies earlier have higher job creation rates.

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Just 14 States Had Positive Job Growth in May

Just 14 states saw positive employment growth between April and May while the majority of the growth was concentrated in a handful of states, according to the Department of Labor.

Fourteen states led by California, Florida and Texas experienced significant job growth, 35 states experienced stagnant job growth and Wyoming saw a decline in employment last month, according to a Department of Labor report released Wednesday. Overall, the unemployment rates in 21 states decreased between April and May while every state’s employment improved compared to May 2020.

While the U.S. continues to report increased job growth, the report showed that the vast majority of the growth has come from about a dozen states.

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Red States Top Those with Lowest Unemployment Rates

"Come in, we're hiring!"

Republican-led states and Vermont reported the lowest unemployment rates in April, according to a new report by the U.S. Commerce Department. States led by Democratic governors recorded the highest jobless rates, according to the report.

Unemployment rates were lower in April in 12 states and the District of Columbia and stable in 38 states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

States with the highest unemployment rates in April were Hawaii (8.5%), California (8.3%), New Mexico and New York (both at 8.2%), and Connecticut (8.1%). All five states with the highest unemployment are run by Democratic trifectas, meaning Democrats control the governor’s office and both houses of the state legislature.

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The Most People in Nearly 20 Years Quit Their Jobs for Better Ones in 2018

by Tim Pearce   Roughly 2.4 percent of the Americans in the workforce quit their jobs in the past year, the fastest rate since 2001, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS’s most recent version of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) found that an…

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