January 27, 2013

Unemployment by state: it's good to be empty and far from Mexico or international airports

Here's the government's current unemployment rates by best 10 and worst 10:

Unemployment Rates for States
Monthly Rankings
Seasonally Adjusted
Dec. 2012p
RankStateRate
1NORTH DAKOTA3.2
2NEBRASKA3.7
3SOUTH DAKOTA4.4
4IOWA4.9
4WYOMING4.9
6OKLAHOMA5.1
6VERMONT5.1
8HAWAII5.2
8UTAH5.2
10KANSAS5.4


41
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA8.5
42CONNECTICUT8.6
42GEORGIA8.6
42MISSISSIPPI8.6
45ILLINOIS8.7
46MICHIGAN8.9
47NORTH CAROLINA9.2
48NEW JERSEY9.6
49CALIFORNIA9.8
50NEVADA10.2
50RHODE ISLAND10.2

At present, American prosperity is dominated by natural resources per capita, with low population states with lots of energy resources in the ground and not too many workers (i.e., not too close to the Mexican border and Mexico's "reserve army of the unemployed" and not too tied into global immigration) having the lowest unemployment, and highly urbanized states having the highest unemployment. 

Hopefully, this won't always be true. But, it is true that one of the big drivers of America's heritage of prosperity has been having a lot of valuable land per inhabitant, as was pointed  out by Benjamin Franklin in the 1750s. 

The more recent notion that American wealth doesn't have anything to do with having lots of wide open spaces seems to be mostly the product of the neuroses of the kind of economists who feel uncomfortable in the wide open spaces and, especially, feel uncomfortable around the kind of Americans who feel comfortable in the wide open spaces.

57 comments:

DaveinHackensack said...

Might be stronger if you left out the part about international airports, but your point about natural resources per capita seems correct for most, with exceptions of HI and VT perhaps. I assume Hawaii is doing well mainly because the strong yen versus the dollar has made it especially attractive to Japanese tourists in recent years, but why is unemployment so low in Vermont? Maybe its economy is goosed by affluent Northeasterners with second homes there? A friend's parents are spending the winter at their condo in Vermont and plan to move there full time when they retire.

Hunsdon said...

Now, who could that be?

Anonymous said...

At number 45, Illinois is hell bent on giving drivers licenses to illegal aliens. Prominent RINOs like former Governor Jim Edgar(the last former gov not in federal prison) are leading the push to do. Within a year or two look to see Illinois unemployment rate at double digits and contending for position number 50.

Thirty years of the state's Republican leadership standing by doing nothing then later actually helping left-wing Democrats push an open borders agenda has completely wrecked the GOP brand. Somewhere long dead Mayor Harold Washington is laughing his ass off that Conservative Inc was too stupid and corrupt to not have stop him from declaring Chicago a sanctuary city. Now Illinois is a sanctuary state whose cancer is metastasizing far into Wisconsin and Indiana. Wisconsin is already a blueish purple demographically. In a couple of decades from now, Outer Appalachia otherwise known as Indiana will be as blue as its neighbor to the west.

Jason Sylvester said...

True: the energy sector here is in the middle of a sustained boom, just like it was during the 70s when the Arabs were embargoing oil every other month and Jimmy Carter was preaching sermons to the American people about getting over their "malaise" instead of expecting him to do something about those long lines at the local gas station. High gas prices are good for natural resource-rich states like Oklahoma, and always have been, but there's always a bust.

Well, maybe not this time: Obama's EPA seems determined to do everything in their power to keep gas prices artificially high and (thus) lots of Oklahoman's and North Dakotans gainfully employed. Another thing is that in addition to oil, natural gas, and, to a lesser degree, coal, enormous wind farms are sprouting all over washboard-flat western and west-central Oklahoma. That part of the state is the "Grapes of Wrath" region most people are thinking about when they read the book or see the movie - and it is relatively empty out there today. The grand and great-grand kids of a lot of the folks who used to live there are second and third generation residents of Bakersfield and Fresno today.

How much of the current wind farm craze here is driven/subsidized by "green energy" tax dollars the Obama administration has ladled out since 2009, I don't know, but (1) they are going up like wildfires and (2) money doesn't seem to be any object with those in charge of putting them there, i.e., they are being built both ridiculously fast and in huge numbers. That combo usually spells tax dollars subsidizing some huge chunk of the operation somewhere, in my experience.

Another natural resource we have a lot of that people want is water - lots of clean water, particularly of the deep aquifer kind. Texas is currently suing Oklahoma claiming we are not using our enormous reserves of our water to their liking, and that they are entitled to it because they would be better stewards of the stuff. Or something like that. Lawyers for Texas have even accused of Oklahoma of "economic protectionism" in trying to hold onto it's water - just as Mexico keeps sending the United States workers to fill jobs "Americans won't do," Texas wants the Sooner State to send them water Oklahoman's won't drink! What it really is that, again, there is a lot of water per resident in Oklahoma compared to Texas, and the population growth in the Lone Star State is such that it is putting a serious strain on their own resources. Complicating all of this is that ownership of much of the water some folks eventually want to get their hands on (not necessarily just Texas, either) is claimed by American Indian tribes, adding another layer of legal fun to the mix. The ghost of William Mulholland no doubt hovers over much of this litigious Southwestern water mess, smiling.

Henry Canaday said...

Has it occurred to anyone that illegal immigrants already have the vote, in one important sense? They count as audience members and consumers, desired by advertisers, just as much as citizens, for TV shows and other mass media. So the same desperate need to please them and not to offend them shapes TV and other media treatment, including entertainment, of anything related to immigration.

Anonymous said...

the product of the neuroses of the kind of economists who feel uncomfortable in the wide open spaces

Neurotic economists suffering from agoraphobia?

*** COUGH *** scots-irish *** COUGH ***

Tim said...

Likewise, the progressive explanation for Australia's wealth is that we have a higher minimum wage, or something. The fact that Australia is a giant desert full of gold mines is a complete coincidence.

Anonymous said...

Matthew Yglesias wants to let all the immigrants in.

-meh

Anonymous said...

Nevada before the mex invasion was nice place...

Anonymous said...

Central Asian nations and Russia have vast empty spaces and intelligent populations but are not very prosperous.

Anonymous said...

Of the four states on the Mexican border, only one (California) is on the worst list. Of the states bordering the four states on the Mexican border, Utah and Oklahoma are on the good list, and Nevada is on the bad list, and the others aren't listed. So I don't see much of a relationship between proximity to Mexico and unemployment.

When I look at the bad list, I see badly governed blue states and Southern states with lots of blacks.

RAZ said...

Interesting that near the bottom of this list is the state with two of the ten highest affluent Metro areas in the world - CT with Hartford and Bridgeport.

Wealthy, or at least affluent, suburbs of Hartford and Bridgeport (the cities themselves are anything but affluent) co-existing in the state with overall high unemployment.

No high affluent Metro areas in in the Plains states shown with low unemployment - but maybe not many Metro areas to analyze due to lower populations? Suspect wealth is overall more evenly distributed there - though if you measured down to areas like just Baaken area boom towns you might see high affluence.

anony-mouse said...

Apparently the people of RI are unwilling to move the huge distance all the way across MA to get to a job in VT which has exactly half RI's unemployment rate (10.2 vs 5.1)

Not quite the Joads.

countenance said...

Unfortunately, there are lots of religious do gooders (mainly Lutheran, some Catholic) that are quickly "resettling" Somalians and domestic blacks into North Dakota underneath the oil boom.

Anonymous said...

You make a good point, Republicans like Jindal who are trying to switched their state to no income tax to sales or property tax should take note that his state's unemployment is a little lower than Texas. Texas is great for taxes but like Florida or Washington or Nevada you pay a whopping property tax bill.

Anonymous said...

north dakota, young men earning money, women most affected

"Christina Knapp said she and a friend received a degrading proposition from some men in a bar. "

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/16/us/16women.html?_r=0


why don't you go get a college degree dudes!

misty said...

"But, it is true that one of the big drivers of America's heritage of prosperity has been having a lot of valuable land per inhabitant, as was pointed out by Benjamin Franklin in the 1750s. "

Our population density has increased somewhat since 1750; Your post leaves the impression that resource rich states have low unemployment b/c of whatever's underground. You'd have to give more information to make such an assertion. I'm sure it helps to have something to mine or refine but plenty of middle eastern and latin american countries w/ natural resources aren't thriving while others with few natural resources compensate nicely anyway; Holland, in the past and probably still; Japan at least until recently.

The sparsely populated states may simply employ most in jobs serving the needs of the immediate population: education, medical and retail. It's also not uncommon for places like SD to need to hire outsiders for hi-tech jobs.

My overall impression is that we could actually further expand the energy industry but don't for various reasons. Interesting in an economic downturn, don't you think? It indicates to me that we aren't so dependent on the natural resources we have that we can't weather a recession without exploiting them further.

Anonymous said...

Talked to a drywall contractor last night and he said No Dakota is full of Mexican crews.

Anonymous said...

This will push people in blue states to look for jobs in red states, and red states will thus become blue.

Anonymous said...

Of the four states on the Mexican border, only one (California) is on the worst list. Of the states bordering the four states on the Mexican border, Utah and Oklahoma are on the good list, and Nevada is on the bad list, and the others aren't listed. So I don't see much of a relationship between proximity to Mexico and unemployment.


There's a huge Amerind population in New Jersey. In fact it's a minority white state.

Matthew said...

"It indicates to me that we aren't so dependent on the natural resources we have that we can't weather a recession without exploiting them further."


Right. We "weathered the recession" by borrowing trillions upon trillions from future generations.

Though I'm not totally sold out on Steve's argument. It seems to me that the best way to not have a lot of unemployment...is to not have a lot of blacks.

Nevada is a special case, since so much of its economy, unlike the surrounding states, relies on tourism. But even that is a good point for wondering "WTF?" when Obbummer states we need more illegals.

Mr. Anon said...

"Henry Canaday said...

Has it occurred to anyone that illegal immigrants already have the vote, in one important sense? They count as audience members and consumers, desired by advertisers, just as much as citizens, for TV shows and other mass media. So the same desperate need to please them and not to offend them shapes TV and other media treatment, including entertainment, of anything related to immigration."

A good point. And likely true.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Christina Knapp said she and a friend received a degrading proposition from some men in a bar." "

“I said I make more money doing my job than degrading myself to do that,” said Ms. Knapp, a tattoo artist with dark streaks in her light brown hair, a bird tattoo on her chest and piercings above her lip and left cheekbone."

I'd say that Ms. Knapp has already degraded herself. Those men just assumed she was a whore, because she looked like one.

Rev. Right said...

At present, American prosperity is dominated by natural resources per capita"

At least until Obama transfers the oil fields, timberlands, and half of Kansas to China as repayment for the debt.

That $16 trillion will have to come from somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Oklahoma doesn't border Mexico, Texas does. New Mexico is going ok in unemployment but has a high poverty rate that is what next to the border does. Ok 8 percent Mexican and Texas 38 percent.

Anonymous said...

Utah doesn't border Mexico either Arizona does, look at a map.

Anonymous said...

A friend's parents are spending the winter at their condo in Vermont and plan to move there full time when they retire.

People live in condos in Vermont? What's the point of staying in Vermont if you're going to be in a condo?

Anonymous said...

Likewise, the progressive explanation for Australia's wealth is that we have a higher minimum wage, or something. The fact that Australia is a giant desert full of gold mines is a complete coincidence.

Actually when you do have large resource deposits, having a high minimum wage or a citizen's dividend or something to that effect is important, otherwise the resource owners will try to lower wages via whatever means, including immigration, so that they can collect more rent from resource extraction.

Truth said...

"Though I'm not totally sold out on Steve's argument. It seems to me that the best way to not have a lot of unemployment...is to not have a lot of blacks."

Not to the numerate, Old Sport, of the five states with the highest unemployment, only North Carolina as a high black population.

Norville Rogers said...

Crazy times in North Dakota

Norville Rogers said...

people of RI are unwilling to move the huge distance all the way across MA to get to a job in VT

Well the economy in Vermont like the social profile of a typical jobholder there is a bit different

Strasberg method said...

Nevada before the mex invasion was nice place

And that kid's name was Moe Greene...

Matthew said...

"Not to the numerate, Old Sport, of the five states with the highest unemployment, only North Carolina as a high black population."

Six of the eleven worst have large black populations: D.C., Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois, and Michigan. Meanwhile...not one of the ten states with the lowest unemployment rates have a lot of blacks or Hispanics compared to the national average.

Anonymous said...

The Lutherans are crafty, but I promise you a few orphan Somalis is not gonna make a huge difference. Really it's kind of an amazing thing to be able to work up outrage over when you have a porous border and Asian influx.

Anonymous said...


Talked to a drywall contractor last night and he said No Dakota is full of Mexican crews.
1/27/13, 10:13 AM Yeah, compared to Texas where 60 percent of construcation workers are Hispanic. There are probably some meatpacking places but where is your illegal friend getting the info. There foreign born is still much lower than Texas or California. I'm sure more of them are going there it makes sense illegal immirgants go where there are jobs.

Anonymous said...

North Carolina also has a massive Mexican population, courtesy of 20 straight years of DEM governorships [Jan 1993 through Jan 2013], which all refused to even pretend to enforce any immigration laws.



misty said...

Hispanics began pouring into states like SD, ND, NE, and KY a long time ago. Either NE or SD has had a local attempt at batting illegals from renting in the area and lost. I've personally seen work crews of hispanics in SD and hordes of them in WY. Iowa has "hola" centers to greet illegals and steer them towards housing and employment. Arkansas does the same. Maybe Idaho avoided a 200% increase in their illegal population but just about everywhere else now has established colonies of "new pioneers".

Cail Corishev said...

"Talked to a drywall contractor last night and he said No Dakota is full of Mexican crews."

I don't know what it is about drywall, but even here in my small Midwest town where we have few Mexicans and other construction is mostly done by white union members, I'm told that most drywall work is being taken over by Mexicans.

Just another job Americans suddenly don't want to do anymore, I guess. Funny how that seems to happen juuust before Mexicans show up to fill in for them. Guess we're lucky they do, or soon we'd all be living in houses with exposed studs!

Truth said...

"Meanwhile...not one of the ten states with the lowest unemployment rates have a lot of blacks or Hispanics compared to the national average."

He said nothing about Hispanics, and the three states with the highest unemployment have somewhat negligible black population, moreso than southern states with more blacks...

FAIL!

Anonymous said...

"Though I'm not totally sold out on Steve's argument. It seems to me that the best way to not have a lot of unemployment...is to not have a lot of blacks."

Not to the numerate, Old Sport, of the five states with the highest unemployment, only North Carolina as a high black population.


Right. But it's a top ten list, not a top five list. And those among us who have learned the word "and," a group which includes everyone but my cat, who likes to sleep and the keyboard, and "Truth," apparently, it's clear that the presence of badly-governed blue states is allowed in a list of badly governed blue states and southern states with lots of blacks.

Anonymous said...

Well, its different from what the Republican Party says ethnic background does not matter its just all taxes and regulation. Note that the lowest unemployed states tend to be white.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but these states are 10 percent Hisapnic. No one in there right mind would say those states are as Mexican as Texas. They started with a low base so their increase would be like a 100 percent or 200 percent.

Anonymous said...

Why blame the Dems, New Mexico has been governed by Dems or Republicans. Texas has been govered by Dems and Repubs. In fact a lot of Republican governors have encourage illegal immirgation more for cheap labor than Dems. Until Arizona did their anti-illegal acts, a lot of Republican governors were following George W Bush encouraging illegal immirgantion for agr-business. In California, the Orange County area run by Republicans encourage illegal immirgants to do maid and gardener work for 30 years. Wilson is the only Republican that had any guts unless its some of the house of Representives.

Anonymous said...

North Carolina is still only 10 percent Hispanic and they can stop their growth better than Florida. There are some cities with a lot of illegals but nothing compared to Texas at 1. 6 million illegals compared to NC of only 300,000.

Anonymous said...

.North Dakota is still white even with some illegals while Texas that has 20 times the illegals is not.

Anonymous said...

All these states are less than 10 percent Hispanic but you guys defend the south all the time. Haley Barbour is the typical politican that encouraged illegal immmirgantion by saying Colonel Sanders needs them, be honest most of the Repubicans are crapped on immirgation too. His states is only 2 percent.

Udolpho.com said...

The midwestern states are fucked because they are filled with clueless whites who only know minorities from TV. Plus half of them are dying seniors. There will be no problem ramping up Mexican percentages to 20% and beyond.

Republicans are useless. Stick a fork in that party. We would be better off trying to pull Democrats away from mass immigration than bothering with the corrupt plutocrats and millionaire ass-kissers that comprise the GOP leadership.

How many times do you have to be sold out before you learn?

Anonymous said...

Paleocon logic: we can't get the effectively white party to oppose immigration on a national level. (Of course all the local progess combatting illegal immigrationI has been by Republicans but shut up.) Let's take our ball over to the minority party because my grandpa used to say the democrats were the party of the working man. Of course I'm not actually a working man, but shut up chicken hawk.

I hope the people posting stuff like that are trolls not actually that big of huckleberries.

Anonymous said...

It seesm like the groups that do most of the killing are the ones who get caught the least. I guess practice makes perfect.

Anonymous said...

People live in condos in Vermont? What's the point of staying in Vermont if you're going to be in a condo?

Because you have ski-in access to the slopes?

Anonymous said...

Getting rid of the minimum or a sub munimum for teenagers who usually live with parents is not a bad idea since they lack work experiance and this might encourage some employers to stop hiring as many illegal immirgants in fastfood except for strange hours of the nite or early morning when teenagers can't work. Ideas where the right hates the mimimum wage and it might be use to hire native teenagers or up to 22 years olds in some states since kids live at home later.

Anonymous said...

Are Mexicans really working hard as well are told. In California the cities with the most illegal immirgants have the highest unemployment rates. Santa Ana has a whopping 11 percent and Anaheim that has a lot of low skilled jobs because of Disneyland and the Hotels has a 9 percent unemployment rate. Santa Ana is about 80 percent Hispanic and Anahiem about 55 percent Hispanic. Huntington Beach mainly white around 68 percent and only 17 percent Hispanic has an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent and Mission Viejo another mainly white town has also a 5.8 percent unemployment. Whites who are more high school and college graduates in all of California schools have lower unemployment than Hispanics particularly heavily immirgant Hispanic cities.

Anonymous said...

When they are part of the center, they are protected,” Salguero said, explaining that it was common for large contractors to offer his workers $7 per hour, below California’s minimum wage. CARECEN sets a $10 minimum. “There are many other places like street corners where workers don’t have any protection and employers take advantage of that situation.”

Salguero said he has found his calling among the day laborers of Pico-Union, who are often living far away from their families in small apartments packed with 10 or more people.

“It’s insane the situation they live in,” Salguero said. “You can open the fridge, and you aren’t going to find anything there. They don’t have the money
An article on Central American sin La unable to get steady work. Politicans of both parties lying that all illegal or low skilled legal immirgnats are emplpyable.

ben tillman said...

Utah doesn't border Mexico either Arizona does, look at a map.

No one said it did.

ben tillman said...

At least until Obama transfers the oil fields, timberlands, and half of Kansas to China as repayment for the debt.

That $16 trillion will have to come from somewhere.


No, it won't. It will never be repaid, and I doubt China is under any illusions in this regard.

Anonymous said...

Well, a best folks all we can get is a Pyrhic victory here. Hopefully tha advances in robotics will cut even more into the need for low skilled labor.

Anonymous said...

Orange County in the 1950s was a paradise of homeowners, "a developer's dream come true." The activists went home from their military-industrial compounds with organizational skills. One right-wing activist was the secretary to the commander in charge of Douglas Aircraft's air force office; her comrades were aerospace engineers, technical writers, doctors, dentists, military officers, and army wives A world's that gone, too bad the right like cheap labor so much.