(RoyalPatriot.com )- According to the Labor Department last Thursday, the number of new unemployment claims from the previous week fell to 260,000, 30,000 fewer jobless claims than the week before.
Unemployment claims rose higher earlier in the month, but appear to be headed back down to the levels seen in the fall.
While some see this as a sign that the omicron variant’s impact on the labor market is limited, it is just as likely the reduction in jobless claims has more to do with employers not wanting to lay people off in the middle of a labor shortage.
It wasn’t the Omicron variant per se that impacted jobs and the economy. As with every other variant of COVID, it was the government response to the Omicron variant that was a punch in the gut.
When mayors and governors impose vaccine passports or mask restrictions on businesses, the businesses suffer.
The facts remain, states that didn’t overreact are leading the country in job recovery. Sixteen of the twenty top states reporting the most jobs recovered since the COVID response began in March 2020 are Republican-led states.
The nine states reporting the largest percentage of jobs gains are all led by Republicans. Four of those states, Texas, Arizona, Utah, and Idaho, have not only recovered the jobs lost due to shutdowns but have added new jobs as well.
For example, Texas lost 1,452,600 jobs due to the pandemic response. By December 2021, Texas gained 1,542,000 jobs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top ten states with the lowest unemployment in the country are all Republican states: Nebraska, Utah, Oklahoma, Idaho, Montana, Vermont, Georgia, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Indiana.
Overall, Democrat-led states reported an average unemployment rate of 4.9 percent – a full percentage point higher than the national average. Meanwhile, the average unemployment among the 27 Republican-led states is 3.4 percent.
Nebraska had the lowest unemployment rate in December 2021 of 1.7 percent, followed by Utah, 1.9 percent.
This is why blaming job loss or the slow recovery on COVID itself is so slippery.
It isn’t the virus, but the response to the virus that has caused the economic upheaval.