Friday, March 20, 2009

And You Thought 8.1% Unemployment was Frightening?

While national unemployment is 8.1% and rising, the BLS reports many areas are facing a much more difficult environment:

Overall, 157 areas posted unemployment rates above the U.S. figure of 8.5 percent, 209 areas reported rates below it, and 6 areas had the same rate.

Two manufacturing centers in Indiana recorded the largest jobless rate increases from January 2008, Elkhart-Goshen (+13.0 percentage points) and Kokomo (+8.9 points). An additional 12 areas registered over-the-year unemployment rate increases of 6.0 percentage points or more, and another 26 areas had rate increases of 5.0 to 5.9 points. Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa, was the sole area without an over-the- year rate change.

Elkhart sound familiar, the Indy Star reports:
President Barack Obama fanned the town of Elkhart’s hopes for relief on Feb. 9 by making it the poster child for his economic-stimulus bill. A month later, however, the city with a 19 percent jobless rate still is waiting for the promise of economic relief, Bloomberg reports today.
The problem lies in the lag between when the needs of states and municipalities are identified and how quickly decent (i.e. not completely wasteful) projects can be rolled out.
Jane Jankowski, a spokeswoman for Daniels, told Bloomberg that the state is “trying to sort through a lot of those same things to find answers to questions about how this will all be working.” She said that 40 counties will be aided by the 55 highway infrastructure projects they’ve announced so far.

White House officials say the city needs to be patient because help is on the way.
Source: BLS