Every candidate shouts about job creation, and some talk about the recovery from the last recession. Every month the Department of Labor releases new statistics about how many jobs have been created, improvements in the unemployment rate, and on and on.
There are parts of the society and the country where some of that is even partly true. But for about 20% of our states, it is not even partly close. An awful lot of the good news is just a numbers game.
Data compiled by the Associated Press shows ten U.S. states still have not regained all the jobs they lost in the Great Recession, even after six and a half years of “recovery,” while many more have seen only modest gains.
The figures are one more sign of the economic inequality, the one field America remains the undisputed global leader. The on-the-ground reality of negative job growth is why many Americans feel the economy has passed them by, and fuels support for angry candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
Wyoming has three percent fewer jobs it did when the recession began. Alabama’s job total post-recession is -2.7 percent, followed by New Mexico at -2.6. New Jersey (Chris Christie!) has one percent fewer jobs than it did at the end of 2007, and Missouri is just below its pre-recession level. The other five losers are Mississippi, Nevada, Maine, Connecticut, and West Virginia.
Among the other states, several show only small gains past pre-recession job totals. Illinois, statewide with a population of over 12 million, has only 8,600 more jobs than it did in December 2007. Arizona’s job count is up just 9,200 with a population of six million (not counting illegal aliens.) And Ohio (Kasich!!!) has added just 58,100 jobs with its population of almost 12 million. Those gains are more or less (it’s less) statistically insignificant.
The states that saw the highest rates of job growth tell the story of the last few years. Some of the biggest gainers include:
Washington DC is a big, big winner, with significant growth from America’s largest employer, the federal government, all fueled significantly by the very profitable War of Terror.
The oil and gas drilling boom lifted North Dakota’s job count by more than 20 percent, though falling energy prices have caused significant layoffs in the past year. Need to check back with North Dakota in a year or two.
Texas has also benefited from the energy boom, as well as greater high-tech hiring in cities like Austin.
Utah and Colorado have also benefited from fast-growing information technology companies. Colorado especially has a large aerospace (read: defense) industry, so good for them.
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