(The Center Square) – 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 a possible 100 points. 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.
Nebraska, Alaska, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Utah, Kansas, Connecticut, Arkansas, and Idaho rounded out the top ten.
Michigan came in last with a score of 38.28.
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.”
Matt Everson, the Iowa State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), credited Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Legislature for the recovery.
“Here in Iowa, it’s not surprising that our state leads the nation in economic recovery from COVID. Gov. Reynolds consistently made logical decisions, balancing Iowan’s health and well being with the needs of small business owners to operate and keep their employees on staff. That is a recipe for a quick recovery. In addition, the Iowa legislature did their part by keeping a balanced budget, passing critical liability protections to shield small business owners from frivolous COVID-19 lawsuits, and cut taxes for our hard working and hard-hit small businesses. Iowans should be proud that we are the fastest state to recover from this devastating pandemic,” he said.
Shane Vander Hart contributed to this report.