Florida TaxWatch Looks at State COVID-19 Restrictions and Economic Recovery

On Friday,  Florida TaxWatch (FTW) released “Economic Commentary: State COVID-19 Restrictions & the Road Back to Economic Normal,” which offers a cursory overview of the relationship between states’ COVID-19 restrictions and their respective economic recoveries.
 Using data obtained by CNN and Moody’s Analytics, as well as WalletHub, the analysis indicates that states implementing more stringent COVID-19 guidelines, such as face mask requirements and bans on large gatherings, have had slower economic recoveries compared to those that lifted restrictions sooner, a measure determined by the national index score, state-level employment, unemployment insurance claims, seated restaurants open, and more.
Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic Calabro weighed in on the report.
“This analysis identifies a statistically significant positive association between states with fewer COVID-19 restrictions and those that have had stronger economic recoveries. And what’s more, it shows that in Florida, the state with the second fewest COVID-19 restrictions, economic recovery is consistently above 90 percent, outpacing the national average of 87 percent. While the Sunshine State is not back to the heights that we saw in 2019, this analysis shows that we are back on track and have a bright future ahead of us,” Calabro said.
The analysis also notes that, according to the Federal Reserve, small businesses fared better in states with less-stringent COVID-19 restrictions compared to more restrictive states. Additionally, evidence suggests that more restrictive shutdowns disproportionately affected low-income households in the early months of the pandemic, as they had less flexibility to work from home, which led to greater job loss, food insecurity, and higher indebtedness.

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