How COVID-19 Affected Illinois’s Economy

The U.S. economy reported its worst quarterly decline in modern history during the COVID-19 pandemic, with gross domestic product shrinking at an annual rate of 31.4% in the second quarter. The economy bounced back in the third quarter, but efforts to contain the virus’s spread throughout 2020 still resulted in a 3.5% annual economic contraction in the United States.

Arriving on the heels of a historic period of growth, COVID-19 brought about a decline in gross domestic product in every state in the country. However, no two state economies are alike, and partially as a result, some states were hit far harder than others.

Economic output in Illinois fell from $773.1 billion in 2019 to $742.3 billion in 2020. The 4.0% economic contraction was slightly steeper than the comparable economic decline nationwide. Steep declines in sectors related to tourism and travel were partially offset by rapid gains in agriculture. Illinois’ agricultural industry added more than half a percentage point to GDP growth in 2020.

Employment in non-agricultural sectors in Illinois declined precipitously in the last year. There were an average of 434,000 fewer people working in the state in 2020 compared to the previous year, a 7.1% decline. The state’s unemployment rate of 7.1% is considerably higher than the 6.1% national rate.

States are ranked based on the percentage change in real GDP from 2019 to 2020. Data on GDP and industry-specific real GDP came from the BEA. Data on average annual employment and the seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate each came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

RankStateChange in GDP, 2020 (%)April 2021 unemployment (%)Change in nonfarm employment, 2020 (%)1Hawaii-8.08.5-9.42Wyoming-7.05.4-4.13Oklahoma-6.14.3-4.94New York-5.98.2-10.35West Virginia-5.55.8-6.66Louisiana-5.57.3-1.87Vermont-5.42.9-9.38Michigan-5.44.9-5.89Alaska-4.96.7-8.710Tennessee-4.95.0-17.511New Hampshire-4.72.8-6.712Nevada-4.68.0-10.413Rhode Island-4.56.3-8.814Wisconsin-4.53.9-6.315Pennsylvania- Jersey-4.17.5-8.419South Carolina-4.15.0-5.120Illinois-4.07.1-7.121Ohio-4.04.7-6.122Delaware-3.96.4-6.023Massachusetts-3.86.5-9.024Minnesota-3.74.1-6.925Kentucky-3.74.7-5.626Missouri-3.64.1-4.827North Dakota-3.54.2-6.728Texas-3.56.7-4.329New Mexico-3.18.2-6.730Indiana-3.13.9-5.531Montana-3.03.7-3.132Kansas-3.03.5-4.633Florida-2.94.8-5.234Oregon-2.86.0-6.635Mississippi-2.86.2-4.336California-2.88.3-7.437Alabama-2.73.6-4.338Maryland-2.66.2-6.839Arkansas-2.64.4-3.040Georgia-2.54.3-4.641North Carolina-2.55.0-4.342Virginia-2.54.7-5.043Iowa-2.33.8-5.144Nebraska-2.12.8-3.645South Dakota-1.72.8-3.446Colorado-1.56.4-5.247Idaho-1.13.1-0.748Arizona-0.96.7-3.149Washington-0.75.5-5.350Utah-0.12.8-1.6

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