Vaccine Mandates and Stock Prices

Wells Fargo cites the high U.S. vaccination rate as a chief reason that the economy will not face the disruptions it did during the initial outbreak.

SeekingAlpha, email, 08/09/2021

The argument in this financial report is that companies that have imposed vaccination requirements on employees have seen their stock prices risk, driving the Dow Jones Industrial Average back into record territory.

The backhanded, unstated comment is that the areas of the US that have low vaccine rates are not important to the national economy — places like Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Wyoming. In fact, that’s true, if we look at the percent of the national Gross Domestic Product each state produces:

The top 10 states are

  1. California 14.7% of total US output
  2. Texas 8.5%
  3. New York 8.0%
  4. Florida 5.2%
  5. Pennsylvania 3.7%
  6. Ohio 3.2%
  7. Georgia 3.0%
  8. Washington 3.0%
  9. Massachusetts 2.8%
  10. North Carolina 2.8%

These 10 states account for 51.9% of US economic output. Seven of the 10 have had vaccine mandates. Corporations are fighting with the governors in the other three to be allowed to impose mandates on employees and customers.

Conversely, 23 states each contribute less than 1% to annual US output:

  1. Alaska 0.2%
  2. Montana 0.2%
  3. Wyoming 0.2%
  4. Vermont 0.2%
  5. Maine 0.3%
  6. North Dakota 0.3%
  7. South Dakota 0.3%
  8. Rhode Island 0.3%
  9. Delaware 0.4%
  10. Hawaii 0.4%
  11. Idaho 0.4%
  12. New Hampshire 0.4%
  13. West Virginia 0.4%
  14. New Mexico 0.5%
  15. Arkansas 0.6%
  16. Mississippi 0.6%
  17. Nebraska 0.6%
  18. District of Columbia 0.7%
  19. Kansas 0.8%
  20. Nevada 0.8%
  21. Iowa 0.9%
  22. Oklahoma 0.9%
  23. Utah 0.9%

These 23 states collectively contribute 11.3% to US economic output. Louisiana and Missouri just barely missed this second list, at 1.2% and 1.5% respectively. (Source: https://www.bea.gov/news/2021/gross-domestic-product-state-1st-quarter-2021)

The two fastest growing states in the US in GDP (as of Q1 20201) are Nevada and Utah. The states with the most sluggish growth are Texas and New Mexico. While it is easier to get higher growth percentages when you start with a smaller base, New Mexico proves that you can start small and do poorly.

(Gov. Abbott: Would you care to explain why every other state is outperforming Texas? Maybe its time to focus on managing your state rather than playing politics.)

If we assigned representation in Congress based on economic output, most of the bottom 23 states wouldn’t be represented.

It is amusing that the District of Columbia isn’t a state but contributes more to the economy than 17 states do. It’s time to fix that.

Life expectancy from birth, 2014 (pre-Covid)
The areas with weaker economic activity tend do a poorer job of taking care of their residents.

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