Our friend Stephen Moore’s Unleash Prosperity Hotline for April 20 had an interesting article parsing the state employment data for March. The remarkable finding is that there are now
13 states that have fully recovered all the jobs lost from early 2020 when COVID hit these shores.
Guess what! Twelve of the thirteen are red states. Four of the five states that have recovered 95% or fewer of their jobs are blue states like New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.
Mr. Moore thinks there are two explanations for the slow recovery of jobs in blue states. First, because blue states had more severe lockdowns, they lost more jobs in the first place. Second, the blue states with slow job recoveries also tend to be states with high welfare benefits, and so workers in those states are in less of a hurry to get back on the job.
The chart shows the 13 states that have recovered all of their jobs (i.e., have exceeded 100% of their pre-pandemic employment).
The jobs recovery chart is interesting by itself, but it is even more interesting when viewed in conjunction with another article in Stephen Moore’s must-read newsletter - Democrats Have A “Good Story” To Tell Voters.
Mr. Moore reports Democrats are worrying openly about the bloodbath the midterm elections are shaping up to be – as they should be. Most polls are now showing voters more inclined to vote Republican this year than at any time in at least 25 years.
So now the spin from the left is: the economy is great, the president’s economic plan is working and Biden is the “jobs president.” That’s the drum the Washington Post and MSNBC is beating. They seem to be bewildered. Why is everyone in such a bad mood?
“I’m not quite sure what the disconnect is,” Hillary Clinton mused on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last Sunday. She said Democrats have “a good case to make if we get our focus in the right place to do it.”
“We got a story to tell, just got to tell it,” Barack Obama said last week.
The Hill reports that a growing number of Democrats are frustrated that Biden is incapable of selling this “good news” story. But for once we will take Biden’s side. The problem isn’t the message or the messenger, observed Steve Moore. It is that Biden’s “progressive” policies on COVID, crime, the border, energy, inflation, the debt, the deficit, national security, and education have been catastrophically bad for the country. Only people living inside the Washington swamp don’t seem to get that.
As Hillary Clinton muses about where “the disconnect is” and Obama says, “We got a story to tell, just got to tell it,” neither of them seem to be looking at the first chart in this article – the jobs recovery chart.
If you live in a Democrat state, you know what’s killing your job prospects and your quality of life: “progressive” Democrat policies on COVID, crime, the border, energy, inflation, the debt, the deficit, national security, and education.
As the pandemic dragged on, regional and local approaches to the health crisis played their role as well, said Oren Klachkin, a lead economist with Oxford Economics, in a report by KTVZ News Channel 21.
“In general, we’ve seen that the Midwest and the South, from an economic perspective, have been hit relatively less severely [by the pandemic] and that is because of local officials and how they responded to the shock itself,” he said. “Meanwhile, we’re seeing cities on the West Coast and on the East Coast, particularly in the Northeast, are still lagging overall in terms of their recovery.” (Emphasis added by CHQ.)
Many coastal cities and states — notably New York and California — implemented stringent restrictions on people and businesses when the pandemic hit.
The measures, which negatively affected the tourism, leisure and hospitality industries, hit particularly hard in places like New York City and Los Angeles, which rely heavily on those sectors. Additionally, those restrictions were typically in place longer — and oftentimes applied more intermittently in the coastal states than in states that opened their economies more quickly, said Mark Vitner, a senior economist with Wells Fargo.
“[States like Florida] were more consistent in the way that they handled the pandemic, whereas California and New York wavered on which businesses could open and when they were allowed to reopen, and then the rules changed,” he said.
What’s the bottom line?
It’s pretty simple – don’t put people out of work with unscientific lockdowns and lockouts and don’t scare away customers with mask and vaccine mandates if you want your state’s unemployment to remain low and its quality of life to remain high.