NORFOLK, Neb. – Credit scores improved for many Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Nebraskans largely did not see much of the benefit.

The average credit score in Nebraska was 723 in 2019. By September of 2022, it had risen to 731, an increase of just eight points, or 1.1%, according to a recent study.

Out of all states, Nebraska had the fourth-smallest percentage increase in average credit score during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quarantine and social disctancing at the beginning of 2020 caused consumer behaviors to change dramatically.

Store and restaurant closures, stimulus checks, and other financial relief allowed many households to improve their financial situations by increasing savings and paying down debt.

State and federal governments offered forbearance on several types of loans: student loan forbearance has been extended for over 3 years, with payments to resume in October 2023, and many auto lenders permitted borrowers to skip monthly payments and make them up at the end of their loan.

As a result, delinquencies on these and other loans decreased, and Americans saw large increases in their credit scores. COVID-19 regulations and relief options varied by state, however, leading to varied financial impacts around the country. Researchers calculated the percentage change in average credit score from full-year 2019 to September 2022, then ranked states accordingly.

North Dakota residents had the worst credit score recovery, followed by South Dakota, Connecticut and Nebraska.

Idaho residents saw the biggest jumps in credit scores, followed by Alaska, Arizona, Nevada and South Carolina.