Employment and unemployment data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics remind us once again that the so-called “recovery” continues to leave millions of Americans behind. While national policymakers have focused their attention on the “supercommittee,” the very real jobs crisis persists in nearly every state. (See interactive maps below.)
This month’s data show that 10 states and the District of Columbia continue to struggle with unemployment rates at or above 10.0 percent (led by Nevada at 13.4 percent, California at 11.7 percent, and the District of Columbia at 11.0 percent), while 19 states plus the District of Columbia have unemployment rates of 9.0 percent or higher.
The geographic impact of the weak recovery is noteworthy. Over the past three months, states in the Northeast lost more than 29,000 jobs, led by New York, which has lost 22,400 jobs since July. Unemployment rates remain persistently very high in the West and the Southeast.
There is some good news in this month’s unemployment rate data: All of the 12 states with statistically significant changes in their unemployment rates from Sept. 2011 to Oct. 2011 experienced declines in their unemployment rates. Similarly, of the 14 states showing statistically significant changes in employment, 13 experienced positive employment growth. (Only Wisconsin lost jobs between Sept. 2011 and Oct. 2011).
Now that the supercommittee has failed to come to an agreement on deficit reduction, Congress needs to shift its focus decisively to job-creation efforts—including investment in infrastructure such as bridges, schools, broadband—vital to the economic prosperity of every state and the nation as a whole.