Lockdowns appeared to have slowed down the number of COVID-19 cases and reduced the number of deaths but restrictions did come with a price: rising unemployment rates.
A review of one year of data shows that the states with the fewest lockdown policies, as determined by a Wallethub.com, had the least change in unemployment rates in December 2020 compared to December 2019. Two states in the top ten for fewest lockdowns, Alaska and South Dakota, had decreases in their unemployment rates, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The five states that had the largest increase in unemployment had some of the harshest restrictions. Wallethub used 14 metrics to identify coronavirus restrictions such as mask mandates, travel restrictions, school shutdowns, and limits on crowds.
Four states ranked as having the most severe restrictions had the lowest number of cases and deaths: Hawaii, Oregon, Maine, and Vermont. Mississippi was the exception ranking in the top five for COVID-19 deaths but in the upper half of states with the fewest restrictions.