Iowa ranked as quickest state in nation to recover from COVID-19

Small business work gains key to recovery, study finds.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds

Iowa’s COVID-19 recovery is the quickest in the nation, according to a WalletHub study released Tuesday.

Iowa ranked first in the nation, earning a total score of 75.25 out of possible 100. WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across three categories: 1) COVID Health; 2) Leisure and Travel; and 3) Economy & Labor Market.

The first category is comprised of data in such subcategories as number of vaccinated residents; share of vaccine supply used; positive testing rate; hospitalization rate, death rate; and share of hospitals with staff/equipment shortages. Iowa was ranked 7th in this category.

“Iowa is one of only eight states in which no hospitals reported having supply shortages in the past week, too, and it has one of the lowest shares of COVID-related doctor visits in the past week,” WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said.

Leisure and Travel includes measurements in the number of daily restaurant visits; seated diners at restaurants compared to pre-COVID levels; a retail and recreation mobility index; and restrictions of gatherings of 25 people or less. Iowa finished 2nd in this category.

Economy & Labor Market includes pre- and post-COVID unemployment levels; real GDP; consumer spending; small business openings and work hours; and real estate listings. Iowa was ranked 5th in this category.

“Iowa ranks as having the quickest recovery from COVID-19 in part because it is one of only three states in the country that experienced an increase in small-business work hours compared to pre-pandemic levels,” Gonzalez said.

“A state's climate can have a big impact on its recovery, too," Gonzalez continued. "States that are warmer, like Florida, allow people to be outside more easily, which gives extra protection to the elderly and other vulnerable demographics. This has led to an economic boom for warmer states, and as people consider where to relocate after the pandemic, climate and tax rates will be among the biggest factors in their decisions.”

Below is a list of the national rankings by state, states' total scores, and rankings according to COVID Health, Leisure & Travel and Economy & Labor Market.

3Alaska72.18162728Hawaii53.74251508Connecticut63.683334513Vermont59.994482814Massachusetts59.29543492Nebraska73.056941Iowa75.257255New Hampshire65.318311735New York52.319455125California55.1510444716Virginia57.6111373811Maine61.001212357Kansas64.611313156Utah64.811426631New Jersey52.8515414821Nevada56.1616254623Maryland55.6017423030District of Columbia53.321846264South Dakota68.99191218Rhode Island57.4820232917North Carolina57.5221282542Washington49.3122501329Colorado53.3523353715North Dakota58.4524112320Minnesota57.1125301636New Mexico51.5826393612Mississippi60.172714810Idaho61.632810327Tennessee54.292918329Arkansas62.11303949Oregon45.6931492237Texas51.2632274340Illinois49.9533364119Wisconsin57.1234211032Ohio52.6735193326Kentucky54.9236172424South Carolina55.4537201434Oklahoma52.523873922Missouri56.123942146Pennsylvania47.4240404045Delaware47.7441323448Louisiana46.3042344243Arizona49.2243381938Florida50.2344292039Wyoming50.094553133Indiana52.6246161251Michigan38.2847474447Georgia46.5748241844Montana48.23498741Alabama49.315022150West Virginia41.17511511

Note: With the exception of “Total Score,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that state, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for that metric category.