States with most economic freedom vastly out perform states with least economic freedom during pandemic

 Chuck Devore:


Fraser found that the top five states for economic freedom are Florida, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The worst five are West Virginia, Alaska, California, and Vermont, with New York placing last.


The freest five states have a combined population of 67.2 million people, with 24.3 million workers in the private sector as of October. Some 62.1 million people live in the least-free five states, with 22 million working in the private sector.

Over the past 12 months, the freest five states have seen a 4.4% contraction in their private sector employment. Tennessee saw the smallest loss of jobs at 3.5%, while New Hampshire experienced the largest loss at 7.9%. The overall loss among the five top states for freedom was 4.4%.

Among the states with high taxes, big governments, and onerous labor laws, New York took the biggest hit to employment with an 11.7% loss, followed closely by Vermont with 10.5%. The loss in private sector employment in the five least-free states was 9.2% since October 2019.

Put another way, had the bottom five states for economic freedom had the same employment performance as the freest five states, they’d have almost 1.2 million more people employed today in the private sector. About 700,000 of those jobs would be in California and about 400,000 in New York.

It’s also the case that states with lower economic freedom ranking were predisposed to taking a more robust government approach to slowing or preventing the spread of COVID-19. Perhaps, defenders of such an approach might claim, 1.2 million more unemployed people would be worth the lives saved via lockdowns and restrictions in commercial activity. The data doesn’t support that.

As of Nov. 20, there have been 53,430 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the five states with the lowest economic freedom rankings compared to 46,162 in the five top states. As a share of the population, deaths in the least free states total 0.086% compared to 0.069% in the freest five states — proportionately, 25% higher in the states that took a more aggressive approach to the pandemic, in line with their philosophy of governance.

As a share of the population working in the private sector, fatalities have totaled up to 0.24% in the least-free states versus 0.19% in the most-free, with deaths being about 28% higher per person employed in the private sector in the least-free states.


It seems the least free states learn nothing from their worse results.  They are governed by control freaks and their exercise that control over economic activity and the health care pandemic and get worse results for both.   It should also be noted that the least free states tend to be losing population to the freest states.  After the 220 census, California and New York are losing House seats and Texas and Florida are gaining them.


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