(The Center Square) – Analysis by WalletHub shows Oklahoma’s unemployment rate is rebounding faster than other states.
WalletHub compared state unemployment numbers just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 with the most recent available numbers for each state.
Oklahoma’s unemployment rate in December 2021 was 2.3%, a 49.1% improvement from December 2020, when the state’s unemployment rate was 5.3%.
The only two states that have performed better than Oklahoma are Nebraska and Utah.
Analysts said some of the most resilient industries and businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic were online retailers, supermarkets, pharmacies and online delivery services.
“Grocers, UFCW and the grocery industry have begun delivering food and other products by rapidly expanding or implementing delivery services and making changes that allow for social distancing in stores,” said Ariana Levinson, a law professor at the University of Louisville. “Online businesses offer many products that previously would have been purchased in person.”
Analysts said service jobs that require face-to-face interactions, such as hotels and restaurants, have suffered. They predicted a slow recovery in these industries that could take years.
Social media, e-commerce and computer engineering skills are expected to be highly sought-after job skills post-pandemic, analysts say.
“Computer and digital skills will be important as we weave more of our economic and social life into the cloud,” said Peter Philips, professor of economics at the University of Utah. “Imagination will be an important skill because we will need people to reimagine our lives and our professional and social interactions in ways that are both safe and interpersonally rewarding.”
The lowest-ranked states for unemployment recovery were New York, New Jersey, Nevada and California.