It should come as no surprise that red states are leading the nation’s recovery. While Democratic governors were looking for new ways to lockdown, Republican governors, on the other hand, looking for ways to open up and the results prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt that opening early was the way to go. And because they opened quickly, their recovery has been incredible.
South Dakota and Florida are now at 106% and 101% of what they were before the pandemic. Rhode Island, Nebraska, and Idaho are all functioning at 100% pre-pandemic capacity.
Other states that deserve mention are West Virginia (98%), Nevada (97%), Montana (97%), Iowa (97%), and Arizona (96%).
On the other hand, blue states that are still in at least a bit of lockdown are doing poorly. Operating at 79% of pre-pandemic capacity, New York ranks last in the Back-to-Normal Index. Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Oregon. Some of these states will take a long time to recover if they ever do.
During the pandemic, people moved away from the blue states that insisted on locking down for a year or more.
Not so coincidentally, people moved to South Dakota and Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) said:
“We will never do any of these lockdowns again, and I hear people say they’ll shut down the country, and honestly, I cringe. And at best, what the lockdown will do is a delay. It does not reduce the ultimate mortality… it creates a lot of other problems with mortality that a lot of people don’t necessarily focus on.”
Rhode Island — though controlled by Democrats — was among the first northeastern states to scale back restrictions. Former Gov. Gina Raimondo (D-RI), who is currently serving as the Biden administration’s Secretary of Commerce, said that she was “leading from a position of confidence and strength and quite frankly, trust in the people of Rhode Island.”
The same trends are evident in states’ unemployment rates. CNN Business data reveal that while both South Dakota and Nebraska boast unemployment rates of 2.8%, over 8% of workers in New York, California, Connecticut, and Hawaii are currently jobless.