Thursday, February 18, 2010

Uneven unemployment rates

The U.S. unemployment rate was 9.7% in January. But that big number blurs what's happening in hundreds of local economies — some winners, some losers — during this harsh, job-destroying recession.

The nation's 372 metropolitan areas are experiencing an extraordinary range of jobless rates — from a low of 4% in Grand Forks, N.D., to a high of 27.7% in El Centro, Calif.

The simplest explanation may be the most telling: The bigger the housing bubble, the worse the job loss. That's still true more than two years after the housing bubble burst.

Generally, this means unemployment is less of a problem in red states (where the concern would be over deficits and spending) and more of a problem in blue states (where Obama voters would be disappointed in his handling of the issue).

Overall, this creates more political problems for Democrats.

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