The health of the labor market is commonly described in terms of the official unemployment rate, but another key detail, the percentage of jobs lost, underscores how a severe shortage of jobs lies at the root of the current jobs crisis. The Map shows the percentage of jobs each state has lost since the start of the recession in December 2007. Although the recession officially ended in June of 2009, all states except Alaska, North Dakota and the District of Columbia continue to see a jobs deficit.
For several states, the loss of jobs has been staggering. Nevada has lost 14.2% of its jobs since December 2007, and Arizona has lost 10.3%. The percentage of jobs lost is 10% in Michigan, 9.4% in Florida, 9% in California, 8.3% in Oregon and 8.1% in Georgia. Rates of job loss approaching or exceeding 10% in many of the country’s most populous states help to explain the difficulty those without jobs face finding new work. Importantly, these percentages reflect total jobs lost but do not include the jobs that should have been created over the past three years just to keep up with population growth. The country as a whole has lost 7.8 million, or 5.6% of its total jobs since the start of the recession. Because it should have created around 100,000 jobs every month just to keep up with population growth, there is a nationwide shortage of more than 11 million jobs today.
These data on rates of job loss by state are from EPI’s EconomyTrack site. The site offers additional state data along with tools to compare the current downturn to past recessions, which also helps illustrate the unusual severity of the current jobs crisis.