Unemployment And Workforce Shrinkage In Republican And Democratic States

Unemployment And Workforce Shrinkage In Republican And Democratic States

tippinsights analyzes unemployment and workforce shrinkages in red and blue states.

Raghavan Mayur
Raghavan Mayur

tippinsights analysis shows that the overall unemployment rate in states led by Republican governors is lower than the overall unemployment rate in states led by Democratic governors.  We also show that shrinkage in the civilian workforce is much lower in Republican areas than in Democratic areas.

While the overall unemployment rate in the United States was 5.83 percent in May, the overall unemployment rate in Republican-controlled states was 5.06 percent, compared to 6.48 percent in Democratic-controlled states.

D.C. is included in our analysis.  Democratic governors govern 24 of the 51 states, while Republican governors govern 27.

One method for calculating an average unemployment rate is to take a numerical average of the unemployment rates in each state.  However, this approach does not take into account the size of the workforce in different states.  California, for example, has a much larger workforce than Vermont.  The outcomes and interpretations may be untrustworthy and unpredictable.

To calculate the overall Republican unemployment rate, we divide the total number of unemployed in the 27 Republican states by the total civilian workforce in the 27 Republican states.

Unemployment in Red States and Blue States TIPP Poll

The table below compares unemployment changes between May 2021 and March 2020, prior to the outbreak.

Changes In Unemployment Pre-Pandemic vs. May 2021 TIPP Poll
Data Sorted High to Low

Workforce Shrinkage

The workforce has shrunk by 2,064,407 people, or 1.27 percent, since the beginning of the pandemic in May 2020.  There are a variety of reasons for the workforce contraction.  Retirement, deciding to further one's education, caring for the elderly, disability, and relocation are common reasons. We use March 2020 data as our baseline for analysis.

In May, the workforce shrinkage was 1.72% in Democratic states, nearly a point more than in Republican states.

Civilian Workforce Shrinkage in Red and Blue States TIPP Poll
Workforce Shrinkage March 2020-May 2021
Sorted High to Low

While the data supports the claims, things aren't always that simple, especially during a pandemic. Factors such as pandemic progression, the demographic profile of states, and others may also be playing a role, making it difficult to isolate policy effectiveness conclusively.


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