Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The State With the Worst Job Market in the US Is...

Ben Casselman at FiveThirtyEight.com reports:
 In Michigan, the unemployment rate has dropped 6.7 points since 2009, from a worst-in-the-nation 14.2 percent in 2009 to 7.5 percent in May. California, as I noted in April, is experiencing one of the strongest economic rebounds of any state; the Golden State has regained all of the 1.3 million jobs lost in the recession (although that doesn’t adjust for the 2.5 million residents the state has added since 2007). Even Nevada, ground zero for the housing crisis, finally saw its unemployment rate dip below 8 percent in May for the first time since 2008, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Then there’s Rhode Island. The state’s unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in May, making it the last state still above the 8 percent mark. It has now had the nation’s highest unemployment rate for seven straight months. (Before that, Nevada had held the dubious distinction for more than three and a half years.)

The unemployment rate often isn’t the best way to measure the health of an economy, but Rhode Island’s recovery has been weak by just about any measure. The state still has 2 percent fewer jobs than when the recession began, and it experienced the slowest rate of job growth of any of the five hardest-hit states (as measured by each state’s respective low point for jobs). Per-person economic output grew just 1.3 percent in Rhode Island last year, and its income growth ranks among the nation’s worst.

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