(U.S.) The employment market is showing further signs of recovery, as the latest jobs report shows that the national unemployment rate has fallen to 10.2%, which is 31% below the peak of 14.7% during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. To provide more context at the city level, WalletHub today released its report on the Cities Whose July Unemployment Rates Are Bouncing Back Most, as a follow-up to our report on the States Whose Weekly Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest, along with accompanying videos and audio files.
This report by WalletHub uses new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which disclosed that it erroneously didn't count many workers on temporary layoffs as unemployed. Therefore, the real unemployment rate may be around 9 percent higher than reported, and our report includes both the official rate and an "adjusted" rate based on this error.
Below, you can see highlights from the report, along with a WalletHub Q&A.
Most Recovered Cities
1. Lexington-Fayette, KY 11. Plano, TX
2. Louisville, KY 12. Madison, WI
3. Lincoln, NE 13. Sioux Falls, SD
4. Amarillo, TX 14. Lubbock, TX
5. Nampa, ID 15. Omaha, NE
6. Bismarck, ND 16. Fort Smith, AR
7. Cheyenne, WY 17. Salt Lake City, UT
8. Boise, ID 18. Overland Park, KS
9. West Valley City, UT 19. Rapid City, SD
10. Billings, MT 20. Missoula, MT
How can unemployed Americans protect their credit scores from being damaged?
"Unemployed Americans can protect their credit scores by taking measures to avoid having bill payments reported as late. Homeowners can get a 180-day forbearance on federally backed mortgages, and students get a temporary break from having negative activity about eligible federal student loans reported to the credit bureaus," said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. "For private debts, consumers can ask if their lender has a hardship program, which could provide a temporary reprieve from payments, reduced interest rates, waived fees and more. Unemployed Americans should also draw up a strict monthly budget that prioritizes the most important bills and minimizes extraneous spending. Budgeting is crucial during uncertain times, particularly for people with high debt loads, and it helps minimize credit utilization – which is good for your credit score."
Should cities have more restrictions than states if they see cases rising locally, even if it hurts employment?
"Public health should take precedence, so cities can choose to have more restrictions than states if there is a local spike in COVID-19 cases," said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. "It's important to keep in mind that local lockdowns are only effective under certain conditions. Unless the flow of people to and from highly-affected areas gets restricted, the virus will spread wherever infected people travel."
Will promoting social distancing in public help cities' unemployment rates recover more quickly?
"Promoting social distancing in public will have a positive impact on the recovery of cities' unemployment rates. WalletHub's research shows that around only around 30 percent of consumers would be comfortable shopping in person without protective measures, but another 47 percent would be comfortable if various protections were put in place, like mandatory mask wearing or plexiglass shields at the register," said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. "Social distancing while reopening inspires greater consumer confidence, which in turn will lead to more people shopping and a greater cash flow to businesses, enabling them to start hiring again sooner."
New York City has experienced the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. How has New York City's unemployment rate been affected?
"New York City has experienced a 464% increase in unemployment from January 2020 to July," said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. "This is worse than the average increase of 203%. New York City's overall unemployment rate is 20%, compared to the average of 10.2%."