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The state worst hit by the pandemic

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the job facing governments was to save lives and save jobs. Very few states did well on both measures, while New York, almost uniquely, did particularly badly on both.

Why it matters: The jury is still out on whether there was a trade-off between the dual imperatives; a new analysis from Hamilton Place Strategies shows no clear correlation between the two.


The big picture: New York was hit very hard early in the crisis, before doctors knew as much as they do now about how best to treat the disease. It also has a substantial tourism economy.

  • By the numbers: New York lost 55,000 jobs per million inhabitants. That's the second-worst result in the country, behind only Hawaii.
  • The Empire State also saw 3,300 extra deaths per million inhabitants, compared to pre-pandemic expectations. That's about the same as Arizona and Alabama. The worst outcome was in Mississippi, which had 3,800 excess deaths per million.

Of note: Two states — Hawaii and West Virginia — had negative excess deaths in the first year of the pandemic. Overall, fewer of their residents died than had been expected. Alaska also came very close.

  • Two other states — Idaho and Utah — saw net job gains, rather than losses.

The bottom line: America as a whole saw 658,431 more deaths than expected between February 2020 and February 2021. That's about 2,200 excess deaths per million people.

  • The country also lost 9.8 million jobs, or about 30,000 jobs per million people.

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