Dylan Scott is a GOVERNING staff writer.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
While some states have begun to see a sustainable recovery since the recession, others remain stuck in neutral. The Huffington Post posted a look at the 10 states with the highest unemployment (using July 2011 unemployment numbers), trying to gauge what has prevented those states from turning it around.
What Brian Reed of InvestingAnswers found was that some of these states were generally the most susceptible to the housing bubble's burst while others were more dependent on the manufacturing industry, which has struggled to recoup its losses during the recession.
For example, according to Reed, 20 percent of North Carolina's income is linked to manufacturing. It is also one of seven "at-will employment" states that allow employers to terminate employees without cause. It ranks ninth with 10.1 percent unemployment.
Florida, which has the seventh worst unemployment rate at 10.7 percent, has hit from both sides of the recession: the decline of the housing market has forced housing prices to drop dramatically. At the same time, foreclosures are up and construction projects stalled, which has driven up joblessness among construction workers, according to the Post.
Then there is Nevada, which ranks first with 12.9 percent unemployment. Prior to 2007, Reed reports, the state boasted the lowest unemployment rate in the United States and one of the fastest-growing economies. Then the housing bubble ruptured, costing thousands of construction jobs, and Americans in general tightened their discretionary spending, which cut severely into the revenues previously reaped by the state's gambling destinations.
Some states do have reason to hope, though, according Reed's analysis. Michigan, for example, suffered some of the worst job losses in the nation as the automobile and manufacturing industries took a dive. But Ford, General Motors and Chrysler are hiring again, leading to an almost four-percent drop in the state's unemployment rate. It is now down to 10.9 percent, tied for third.
The most recent state unemployment numbers for August 2011 are shown below and are available on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.
View Unemployment Rate by State in a full screen map