September 27, 2011 – Unemployment by State; Looking for a Job? – Check this Map First: When the unemployment rate rose in most states last month, it underscored the extent to which the deep recession, the anemic recovery and the lingering crisis of joblessness are beginning to reshape the nation’s economic map (see above).
For decades, the nation’s economic landscape consisted of a prospering Sun Belt and a struggling Rust Belt. Since the recession hit, though, that is no longer the case. Unemployment remains high across much of the country. The national rate is 9.1 percent, reported by the U.S. Government; however, many private economists and analysts say it is twice that.
Now, with the concentration of the highest unemployment rates in the South and the West, some economists wonder if it is an anomaly of the uneven recovery or a harbinger of things to come. Some noted economic experts are forecasting Great Depression II.
Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona are permanently depressed. The West has the highest unemployment in the nation. The collapse of the housing bubble left Nevada with the highest jobless rate, 13.4 percent, followed by California with 12.1 percent. Michigan has the third-highest rate, 11.2 percent, as a result of the longstanding woes of the American auto industry. However, of the states with the 10 highest unemployment rates, six are in the South. That region, which relied heavily on manufacturing and construction, was hit hard by the downturn.
Many auto-producing metropolitan areas in the Great Lakes states are seeing modest gains in manufacturing that are helping them recover from their deep slump, while Sun Belt and Western states (with sharp drops in home values) are still suffering.
In New York, areas around long-struggling upstate cities like Buffalo and Rochester are recovering faster by some measures than the New York City metropolitan area. And the rate of recovery in Rust Belt areas around Youngstown and Akron, two Ohio cities that were hit hard, has outpaced that of former boomtowns like Colorado Springs and Tucson.
In a sign of how severe the downturn has been, only 16 of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas have regained more than half of the jobs they lost during the recession.
The toll on the nation’s millions of unemployed people has been harsh. The United States has more people living in poverty than in any year since it began keeping records half a century ago.
Joblessness is taking a toll on states, too. This month, 27 states will have to pay $1.2 billion to the federal government in interest on the $37.5 billion that they borrowed in recent years to keep paying unemployment benefits.
What is most striking about the high unemployment rates is how it continues to afflict wide parts of the country. It is so pervasive; it’s hard to pick out any state that is bouncing back.
The world is edging towards a global depression, with the US consumer unable to spend; the Chinese economy slowing down and Europe preparing for defaults. Our modern economy — and our government — depend on growth, and growth is a thing of the past.
The Master of Disaster