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Unemployment Rises in Swing States

The low unemployment rate is not being felt in a number of important states

Posted on
Nov 06, 2019

While Trump continues to tout a strong economy, workers in some important swing states are being laid off at an alarming rate. Find out more below from Morning Shift.

The economy is humming along if you look at it from 1000 feet up. Just last week the monthly jobs report beat expectations, with 128,000 new jobs added in October and unemployment at a very low 3.6 percent. "But unemployment isn't falling for everybody," Andrew Van Dam and Heather Long report for The Washington Post.

New local area unemployment data that BLS released last week shows that about one in three counties has an unemployment rate that's higher than it was a year ago, according to Van Dam and Long's analysis. "That includes all 72 counties in Wisconsin and all 10 in New Hampshire, as well as most in Michigan, Minnesota, and North Carolina. The numbers can be volatile from month to month, but this trend remains even if you look at entire quarters or years."

Four critical swing states — Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and North Carolina — "have seen substantial rises in unemployment over the past year," Van Dam and Long write. Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, told the Post: "When unemployment is rising, people sense the implications of that: fewer jobs, smaller pay increases, no bonuses and maybe some layoffs. ... People feel things are changing, and it makes them nervous."

The typical working family hasn't experienced the sort of income gain that one would expect in a tight labor market, Heidi Shierholz, former chief economist at DOL and policy director at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, explained to Morning Shift. "We've had this very low sustained unemployment and it's not sparking inflation. We actually still have slack in the labor market," she said. "By and large the labor market is strong, people are able to find work," Shierholz said, but the jobs that are available "don't have family-sustaining wages and benefits." More from The Post.

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