While unemployment in Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Virginia all fall below the national average, and Florida’s rate is the best it’s been since 2008, there’s more to an economic turnaround than job numbers alone alone. To find out how these states are really doing, I called Doug Hall at the Economic Policy Institute. Hall oversees the Economic Analysis and Research Network, which connects state-level economic think tanks. He took a look at a few of the key states—Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, and Virginia—to evaluate claims of economic recovery.
His answer: It’s complicated. “It’s very tempting to grab one indicator and sort of focus on that—with the most popular one being employment growth,” he said. “You’ve got to make sure you’re looking at two or three pictures together.”