Fri, Jul 22, 2022 3:33 PM
By Brett Davis, The Center Square
Washington was ranked the 17th-worst state in the nation in terms of overall changes in unemployment, according to a recent study by WalletHub.
The personal finance website evaluated changes in unemployment rates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia by looking at six key metrics in comparing unemployment rates from June of this year to key dates in 2022, 2021, 2020, and 2019.
“We have come a long way from the nearly historic high of 14.7% in April 2020, due to a combination of vaccinations and states removing restrictions,” the WalletHub report states, referring to the unemployment rate spike caused by COVID-19 lockdowns two years ago. “However, inflation and the potential of a recession threaten to push the unemployment rate higher again if Federal Reserve rate increases are not able to stave them off.”
Inflation hit a 40-year record in June, with consumer prices increasing 9.1% over the last 12 months, the U.S. Department of Labor reported on July 13, sparking fears of a recession.
The U.S. added 372,000 jobs in June, slightly less than in May.
“Unfortunately, the most recent jobs report showing even more job gains for the country is not necessarily good news for the economy as a whole. After the report was issued, the Fed announced it supported yet another rate hike in July,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said in a statement provided with the report. “Since the Fed raises rates due to inflation, and lower unemployment just strengthens the case the economy is overheating, we will continue to see rate hikes and a shaky economy for the time being.”
It's widely expected the Federal Reserve will raise its target federal funds rate by another 0.75 percentage point at its meeting next week.
Gonzalez then addressed Washington’s No. 35 ranking by WalletHub.
“Washington ranks in the bottom 20 states in terms of unemployment rate changes,” she told The Center Square in an email. “While there were fewer unemployed people in June of this year compared to June 2021, the drop is only about 25%, which is among the lowest in the country. At the same time, Washington's current unemployment rate is 3.9%, higher than the national average of 3.6%.”
Fellow Pacific Northwest states Oregon and Idaho fared better than the Evergreen State, ranking at No. 27 and No. 16, respectively.
The 10 best states in terms of changes in unemployment:
2. New Hampshire
3. Rhode Island
9. South Dakota
The 10 worst states and state designates in terms of changes in unemployment:
51. District of Columbia
49. New Mexico