Sobering News: Long-Term Unemployment By State

Jul 21 2011 in Employment Economy, Featured, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

WSJ - Long-term unemployment by state interactive

This is some sobering news, from today’s Wall Street Journal.

Today’s Journal included an interactive chart showing long-term unemployment by state. WSJ is defining long-term unemployment as lasting over a year. Here’s some highlights (if you can call these highlights) from this data:

  • In 7 states, long term unemployment makes up over 1/3 of total unemployment – so over 33% of the total unemployed in these states have been unemployed for more than a year. If you are considering a move, these may not be ideal states to target:
  • – New Jersey
    – Georgia
    – Michigan
    – South Carolina
    – North Carolina
    – Illinois
    – Florida

  • There was much better news for the following states with the lowest long term unemployment (all 15% or less). These states have much more robust job markets, giving you a much better chance of finding a new job here:
  • – North Dakota
    – South Dakota
    – Alaska
    – Louisiana
    – Oklahoma
    – Wyoming

It shouldn’t surprise you much that these states were also well under the 2010 national average unemployment rate of 9.6% – these states beat the national average by at least 2%.

However, the state with the highest long term unemployment rate (over 37%) – New Jersey – had an overall unemployment rate slightly less than the national average. Additionally, the state with the highest 2010 unemployment rate of almost 15% – Nevada – had a long term unemployment rate under 30%. So states with the highest unemployment rate don’t necessarily have the highest long-term unemployment rates … they seem to be caused by other factors.

By examining the chart and it’s data, you’ll see, as a general rule, more rural states tend to have better job markets, while more heavily populated states tend to have worse job markets. Perhaps this is due to lower labor costs or a smaller pool of workers in less populated states. Of course there are exceptions (Nevada with high unemployment, Pennsylvania/Maryland/Virginia with lower than average unemployment).

Take a look at WSJ’s interactive chart and the 2010 Department of Labor numbers behind it here:

WSJ - Long-term unemployment by state interactive

Source: Original article by Sara Murray, Wall Street Journal at .


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