Tuesday, December 02, 2008

What Do AR, OK and WV Have in Common?

The BLS released metropolitan area unemployment rates today for October 2008, and the report shows that the economies of three states (Arkansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia) actually improved from October 2007 to October 2008, despite the recession that started in December of 2007 (see chart above). Moreover, five out of six cities in Arkansas had lower unemployment rates in October 2008 than October 2007, the jobless rates in two out of three cities in Oklahoma dropped, as did two cities in W. Viriginia.

I don't know what these three states have in common, but as the National Governors' Association meets today in Philadelphia, maybe the governors in the other states should figure out how AR, OK and WV have been able to prosper and improve during a serious national slowdown, and copy whatever they're doing.


At 12/02/2008 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was bad enough for the The Economist to push the "decoupling" theory earlier this year for the emerging economies, now Mark here is proposing that certain states have decoupled from the overall US economy.

Give it time Mark. We are headed for 10% unemployment and its not going to be pretty.

Slightly OT: One of the scariest headlines I read over last weekend was that some random toy factory in China was shut down and the laid off workers rioted. This is a bad, bad sign and is a sign of things to come in China and other emerging economies. Citizens in those countries might have ignored their lack of civil liberties when times were good, but as they look for a scapegoat to their problems, they will lash out at their governments. The government will have 2 choices. Either channel the anger somewhere else (America or perhaps start a war against a neighbor?) or clamp down hard on the citizens. Either way things are scary.

At 12/02/2008 11:41 AM, Blogger Domino said...

I'd be curious to see what percentage of workers in these states possess a commercial drivers license. My unfounded suspicion is that unemployment rates have gone down due to the falling gas prices.

At 12/02/2008 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just nitpicking here, but ins't Arkansas AR?

At 12/02/2008 11:48 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Anonymous: Yes, of course, it should be AR, I apologize and it's now corrected!

At 12/02/2008 12:01 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Mark here is proposing that certain states have decoupled from the overall US economy"...

Does this mean you are a proud Michigan citizen?...

Just kidding...

Actually decoupling the states is in one sense a potentially good way to find out what the states that are doing good versus the ones that aren't...

For instance what does this say if anything at all about California?

Schwarzenegger declares fiscal emergency

page 6 of the BLS shows some interesting figures...

At 12/02/2008 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For WV:

Charleston is the State Capital.
Huntington is the home of Marshall.
Morgantown is the home of WVU.
There are a lot of government handouts in those 3 areas, at the expense of everyone else.

I may be wrong, but I believe Parkersburg and Wheeling are at good sized transshipment points for the coal industry.

At 12/02/2008 12:32 PM, Blogger Colin said...

The lack of a decoupling is definitely interesting. Why is it that as goes the U.S. economy so goes the world? We're only 5% or so of the world's population, so what is it that makes us the world's economic engine?

At 12/02/2008 1:16 PM, Blogger BG said...

Arkansas has the Walmart headquarters. People that I know, who are in business in Arkansas, say they can see Walmart spending more money and hiring more people

At 12/02/2008 4:38 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

They are sparsely populated and/or are beholden to citizen-hostile foreign interests.

At 12/02/2008 5:35 PM, Blogger Marko said...

Machiavelli, so now keeping your job is a civil liberty?? I agree that it is time for all Men to be free, but that includes business owners. Let's hope China liberalizes its system and allows real civil liberties, like freedom speech, religion, and gun ownership!

At 12/02/2008 10:39 PM, Blogger the buggy professor said...

1) Well, first off, the three states are among the 10 poorest in the US.

Top 10 Richest States
1) Maryland - $65,144
2) New Jersey - $64,470
3) Connecticut - $63,422
4) Hawaii - $61,160
5) Massachusetts - $59,963
6) New Hampshire - $59,683
7) Alaska - $59,393
8) California - $56,645
9) Virginia - $56,277
10) Minnesota - $54,023

9 Poorest States
42) Montana - $40,627
43) Tennessee - $40,315
44) Kentucky - $39,372
45) Louisiana - $39,337
46) Alabama - $38,783
47) Oklahoma - $38,770
48) Arkansas - $36,599
49) West Virginia - $35,059
50) Mississippi - $34,473


2) Also the three are, as someone noted already, low in population compared to the big states.

Oklahoma 27th in pop(around 3.6 million)

Arkansas 32nd (around 2.8 million)

West Virgina 37th (1.8 million or so)


3) No manufacturing industries to speak of. Largely rural, plus one big city in Oklahoma and Arkansas.


4) A noticeablyhigher poverty rate than the average US state --- over 15% for all three in the 2005-2007 period. Exceeded, in effect, only by Texas, News Mexico, Mississipi, and the District of Columbia.

Source: http://www.nemw.org/poverty.htm


4) And generally, as traditionally rural states, they have lower educational levels compared to the US average:

Click here


Beyond all this, only people knowledgeable about the politics and economies of those three states could dig deeper . . . or so it seems.


Michael Gordon, AKA, the buggy professor

At 12/03/2008 6:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The use of national stats on income and poverty for comparison purposes between states is not a valid argument in my view. A person who makes $65,000 a year in NY for example lives no better than a person who makes 25% less in SC. If I live in VA. as another example I can pay 4 to 5 times more in real estate taxes than I have to pay in SC. If I live in Pa. it could be as much as 10 times. I have lived in all three states. Retired people have to leave states like NJ because they can no longer afford the taxes.

One fact that cannot be disputed and that is those states with the highest taxes consistently have the most fiscal problems. I wonder why that is the case. I also wonder why the majority of the voters have not been able to figure that out.

At 12/03/2008 5:55 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> We're only 5% or so of the world's population, so what is it that makes us the world's economic engine?

Uh, the fact that we produce 25% to 33% of the entire world's wealth?

But hey, let's f*** with the system, 'cause, after all, it doesn't work as well as Soft Eurosocialism, does it?

At 12/03/2008 6:00 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> A person who makes $65,000 a year in NY for example lives no better than a person who makes 25% less in SC.

You can live reasonably well (as in your own apt., a halfway decent car, etc.) on about $15k a year in a number of places in Florida, and I'm not talking backwoods, but mid-size metro areas, ca. 250k pop.

Try that anywhere in the Tri-State area.

At 12/08/2008 11:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being "employed" is not a synonym for "prospering". (The original article equates the two.) Please recall the phrase, "working poor". Having large masses of these is not the America we claim to be and not the one any American should find acceptable.


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