With Friday’s Big Meh™ of a jobs report, there is still good economic news to be found — provided you’re lucky or smart enough to live in a state with a Republican governor.
But if you live in a Democrat-run state? Fuggedaboudit, as our Deep Blue New Yorker friends might say.
Last week, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) released a report that they say the “picture painted here is clear.”
According to FEE, ten states have already returned to pre-lockdown unemployment rates, or very close to them. The ten states are Nebraska (2.3%), Utah (2.6), New Hampshire (2.9), South Dakota (2.9), Idaho (3.0), Vermont (3.0), Alabama (3.2), Oklahoma (3.5), Montana (3.6), and Georgia (3.7).
Those are great numbers even without a pandemic. As FEE says:
Many different factors influence unemployment rates, but there’s one glaring thing these 10 states all have in common: Republican governors. Generalizing, GOP-led states had lighter government lockdowns on their economies and reopened sooner. So, too, except for Vermont, these states have all prematurely terminated the ongoing supplemental unemployment benefits that can pay unemployed households up to $25/hour.
Now get ready for the ten states with the worst unemployment figures.
They are: Arizona (6.6%), Louisiana (6.6), Pennsylvania (6.6), Washington, DC (6.7), Illinois (7.1), Hawaii (7.3), New Jersey (7.3), California (7.6), New Mexico (7.6), New York (7.6), and Nevada (7.7).
Please note that the least bad of the bad states, Arizona, has an unemployment rate nearly double that of the least good of the good states.
Can you guess what almost all of the worst-performing states have in common?
With the exception of Arizona, these states struggling with high unemployment all have Democratic governors (or mayor, in the case of DC). Generally speaking, they had longer and harsher government restrictions on their economies than the top 10 states. And, except for Arizona, all of these bottom-ranking states continued to offer residents expanded payouts to stay on unemployment benefits.
When FEE published this report, the only had unemployment figures as recent as July. But the dismal jobs report just released Friday morning won’t move the needle in either direction — except for a slightly lower official unemployment rate. That’s topline figure is due to people leaving the workforce.
So there really are two Americas.
There’s the America that works and is mostly run by Republicans. Then there’s the America that doesn’t work and is mostly run by Democrats.