The History Of US Unemployment By State, And A Surprising Observation

Tyler Durden's picture

The following fascinating chart from Tableausoftware shows the history of US unemployment by state since 1976, and specifically the difference from historical averages. What the chart shows is that as more and more people have migrated to populated coastal areas, or those areas hit hardest from the recent deleveraging mean reversion depression, it is the flyover states, typically considered the least interesting, that are actually performing by far the best, with some places like North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Vermont paradoxically having better relative employment right now than during any time in the past 40 years! As the economy continues to revert to trendline along every possible axis, despite the Fed's persistent efforts to overrule nature, how long until reverse migration kicks in, and all those hopefuls who had trekked to the big coastal cities dreaming of better prospects, leave in disenchantment and head back to where they came from, and just how would that impact the future of US economic and demographic trends?

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Zero Debt's picture

North Dakota + South Dakota + Nebraska = Farming/Natural Resource States

Stuff you can't print out of thin air...

MsCreant's picture

My area has not suffered as bad as some. My joke is that if you did not soar very high (bubbiliciously away from the mean) then you don't have nearly as far to fall. 

augustusgloop's picture

New York: stuff you can print out of thin air with help of 300 million tax payers = poof Fed induced high employment (considering size of state). J

blunderdog's picture

Most all the people are in the cities, but there's a fair amount of agriculture in New York STATE.  I used to work on the farms there from time to time as a youngster.

Lednbrass's picture

I dont think its that way anymore, I have seen a couple of articles in the last few years about the thousands of farms in upstate NY now lying vacant and unused.

Landrew's picture

Sadly the employment boom of the shale states is now over. Oil well depletion is overwhelming. We now have natural gas rig counts moving down to late 90's numbers. I wish it wasn't true. I helped family start a trucking business two years ago moving oil. Sad that it didn't last longer. I was banking on five more years before the debt would overwhelm the industry.

AustriAnnie's picture

Actually, farming subsidies are printed out of thin air.

Especially since the alternative energy subsidies for corn ethanol, etc.

Id fight Gandhi's picture

You mean producing stuff and not just buying shit on credit is actually a good thing? Who wouldve thought?

Cathartes Aura's picture

massive farming subsidies in Nebraska - seems you can print "Farming/Natural Resources" out of thin air. . .

And Brandon is a post-modern farmer, which means he is on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. His finger is never off the racing pulse of commodity prices and land values - which keep going up in this part of America.

The price of land in the region has increased fourfold in five years. Land prices in the rural Midwest are doing the opposite to house prices in the rest of America. They continue to shoot up, even prompting whispers of a bubble.

'Phenomenal income year'

There is a ton of extra cash here, and not all of it from the grain shipped in freight trains. Astonishingly, the farming community of states like Nebraska and neighbouring Iowa is still receiving billions in indirect subsidies on products like corn for ethanol, as well as direct payments to each farming family.

blunderdog's picture

Depends a bit on why people left.

For those who left for economic opportunity alone, a "return home" may well be appealing.

For those who left because of archaic and provincial social mores and relative lack of social/ethnic/racial/sexual diversity, there's still not much to say for many of the heterogeneous USian backwaters. 

There really are some of us who appreciate and celebrate differences among the people around us.  The Internet is a tremendously destablizing force--the fact that young people are able to learn such a tremendous amount about just how different various parts of the country can be does a great deal to encourage thought of relocation.

I will NEVER forget the plate of "nachos" I got in a small town diner somewhere between the Northeast and Midwest.  It was a basket of stale Fritos smothered in a provocative bottled (or canned?) spaghetti-sauce sitting next to a cup of Cheez Whiz.  I wasn't about to complain, but it sure was eye-opening.  I only wish I'd had the creativity to imagine such a thing before experiencing it.  It may be the chef had designed his recipe based on a smuggled Polaroid of a similarly-named appetizer served in one of the far-flung and exotic locales like New Yawk or Tejas or California.

Prometheus418's picture

That's one of the things that the internet has been changing.

I live in a town with 3000 residents way out in Nowhere, WI.  When I was growing up, it was much as you described- but not so much anymore.  We get the same propiganda and cable channels the rest of the country does, and now there are boutique shops, coffee bars and ethnic restaurants all over the place.  The town next to us, where I work, has put millions into their downtown, and it now looks and feels like any "gentrified" neighborhood on the West coast.  Same damn good eats down there, too- you can get fresh Sushi, Thai, or whatever you want in a few square blocks- with one little difference- they're prepared with actually fresh vegetables, and water that is cleaner than just about anywhere I've ever been.  That town also has a zoo that keeps growing at such a pace that it is beginning to rival the one in St. Paul- only it's free to visit, and you can find parking.  We've also got fiber-optic internet wired into every home in town in the whole area, an indoor swimming facility with an attached gym, and all the other things you would expect to have living in a large city.  All without smog, potholes and crime.

The stinky old wood-paneled diners that serve open-face meatloaf sandwiches covered in slimy gravy substitute are still around here and there, but for the most part, they are dying off.  And although the racial mix is still primarily German and Scandinavian, there are far more SE Asian, Indian, Hispanics and other ethnicities than you would think.  As the culture continues to open up, they become far more visible in the community.

I know exactly what you're talking about above- I moved away when I was 18 for just those reasons.  I came back because the air, water and food are clean, and it's a good place to raise children.  I've lived both sides of the argument, and I'd much rather live in a somewhat modernized midwest than in any major US city I've ever seen.  It's just not quite the same as it was 10 or 20 years ago- everything makes it here, it just takes longer.

Do yourself a favor and take a second look at your hometown- it might be the same as it ever was, but then again, everything may have changed.  I don't regret moving back to where I came from a bit, and if I want to visit a city, they're still there to go gawk at now and then.  And if anything that has been happening in recent years reaches it's logical conclusion, you're far more likely to be able to survive in relative peace.

blunderdog's picture

My hometown was always actually a bit on the "hip" side, as it was a SUNY location where the student body outnumbered the village residents.

BUT...I ate those "nachos" only 5 years ago.  Look at all the posters here who can't tolerate the idea of living around Blacks, Latins, gays, or Jews. 

I do agree overall--I think any town/city of some critical population size will change just as you've described.  But believe you me, there are still a zillion places that haven't gotten there, for whatever reason.

GMadScientist's picture

You overlook a persistent dynamic in America: people like having poor people do shit they don't want to do.

So you see the phenomenon of the ghetto that is one short bus ride from where the people on the bus go to work. You could easily jog from "Gangsta LA" to Beverly Hills, if not for the choking smog. Up in heady Marin, they had one of the biggest INS stings in awhile because towns like NoVATO don't really live up to their name. This isn't new either. Consider the naming of Detroit suburbs, for instance; Dearborn (white workforce) and Inkster (black workforce).


blunderdog's picture

I see no connection from what I said to your comment.

Paul Atreides's picture

Sounds like a really nice place P. A good mix of culture, great eats, and a nice place to live. I hope that gold and silver pops one day so that I can retire early and do 6 months in the summer in a cottage close to a northern ontario town with the same feel and 6 months in the winter in costa rica.

cbxer55's picture

My hometown is Pitman NJ. Believe you me, I have no intention of ever stepping foot in that fowl state again. Just about as bad as Kalipornia. and just as gun unfriendly. At least here in OK, I have a concealed weapons permit that allows me to carry in some 33 other states. Good luck with that in Joisey or Kalipornication.

CaptainObvious's picture

I hear you.  I'm from Joisey originally, too.  There isn't enough gold in the world to pay me to live there again.  The whole fucking state is one big urban hellhole these days.

blunderdog's picture

Jersey suffers from two major problems...

It's right on the corridor that connects everything on the East Coast, and it was one of the early feeders/bedrooms of all the bullshit in NYC.  A lot of terrible crimes against that part of the world were committed before any of us were born.

aerojet's picture

I'm probably a bigger gun nut than you, and I hate NJ, so I know where you're coming from on that, but why use concealed carry laws to measure anything?  At most, it is one tiny victory for regular people--oh, so you can carry a gun to defend yourself if you need to.  If our political system worked, we wouldn't have the urban decay that leads to so many psychos who prey on regular people in the first place.  So yeah, gun rights, but I wasn't going to hang up my right to self defense whether the government was "allowing" it or not.  Also, every place that you actually really NEED a gun is a place that outright bans them!  So spare me about Okla-fucking-homa already! 

aerojet's picture

WTF?  What year was that?  With all the hispanics literally everywhere, I have a hard time believing such a story.  Or maybe the diners you like are just complete shitholes.  Or the folks there were having a larf.

jbvtme's picture

i'm from vermont.  this place is a collectivist nursinghome.  all the money flows from taxes to the teachers, medical and police.  the rest fight for the crumbs.

chunga's picture


Watch Bernie Sanders [I] go wild a few days ago.

The American People Are Angry


Talk about an understatement.

I think "furious" works better.

tahoebumsmith's picture

Bernie is the Man!!! He has been fighting the FED and the Crony Banking Oligarchs for over a decade. Imagine if they had taken him more seriously back in 2003 when he schooled Alan Greenspan in this video?



Id fight Gandhi's picture

He won't fight the fed. He's one of "them." they would never turn on their own.

Temporalist's picture

He's right about some of the problems but wrong about the solutions to fix it.  He thinks anything with government, which was at least 50% of the cause, will be 100% of the solution.

psychobilly's picture

"Watch Bernie Sanders [I] go wild a few days ago."

I suffered through it all.

He's a well-intentioned demagogue telling the lower orders what they want to hear.  The hungry.  The poor.  The old.  The children.  The sick.  Cops. Teachers. Patriotic 19-year olds "defending" us in Iraq.   Did he leave any of the usual emotional/patriotic props out?  All of them blameless innocents.   The source of all of their problems:  the evil millionaires and billionaires.  We evidently need more government to rectify this. 

We need to "invest" in (government) education.  Is this man aware that the US spends more per student K - 12 than any other country with the exception of Switzerland?  Given the results (ignorant, bovine, government-dependent masses who can't think for themselves), is this really money that has been well spent?  Is acquired knowledge and critical thinking really a function of money spent on government "education"? 

Is he able to do the basic math required to determine the affordability and sustainability of some of these cherished government programs of his (e.g., Medicare, Public employee retirement programs)?

Is it possible that the government has proven to be a poor steward of tax revenue and that it is actually the source of many problems?  Do such questions even occur to him?  He's as dangerous as the Wall Street criminals he rails against.  At least I have the freedom to choose not to do business with Wall Street.

JR's picture

Yes, demographics and geography count (and particulary when it comes to counting voter representation), such as the results of the great liberal move you describe into beautiful Vermont and the U.S. destinations of Third World migrations and immigrations. For instance, in bankrupt Stockton, CA with its poverty rate of 19.8% and median age of 30.8 years, according to California Demographics: “The largest Stockton racial/ethinic groups are Hispanic (40.3%) followed by White (22.9%) and Asian (20.7%).

The white population (and voter representation) of the entire state of California had dropped to 40 percent by 2008, according to a 2010 SF Chronicle article in 2010: "Whites in State Below the Replacement Level."

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

I've spent a good portion of my life in Oregon. People would work hard in the woods and on the Pacific to learn a good living. The forest was cut down and the fish annihilated. Throw in hippie trash with ridiculous regulations and those ag jobs vanish. Instead of moving, the state just dumps enormous amounts of welfare on them. The state has become a welfare mecca filled with deadbeats. These people aren't migrating anywhere. WA to the north is in the same boat.

Hangfire's picture

You can add Northern California to that dead beat group.  I spent some time up in Humbolt County this spring on family business and was shocked at the utter depression that area is in, I felt like I was in "the walking dead", beautiful scenery surrounded by walkers, what a waste.    

Cathartes Aura's picture

Humboldt County was "cash crop" central for many decades, until a perfect storm of "medical marijuana" status, and competition from BC deprived them of their "lively - hoods". . .

they also had to bear the "confiscation" of property enforced by the local law mafia.

DanDaley's picture

How is it that Vermont has such good gun laws with so many insane (the only kind) liberals/progressives/socialists?  Seems a paradox.

aerojet's picture

Again, gun laws don't mean anything, really.  Laws are a severely lagging indicator--we still have Prohibition-era laws on the books that make absolutely no sense.  Having such a small population and being so out of the way, Vermont did not experience the violence of Prohibition the way other states did, so they never bothered to put such heavy-handed gun bans on the books.  None of those laws accomplished anything, but they felt good.  I'm not sure why Vermont lefties can't get NY and MA style bans put in place.  No large urban centers to breed crack goblins?

Lord Koos's picture

Yeah who needs all those teachers, cops and firemen anyway...

kito's picture

Tyler, revert TO trendline?????....i believe you mean bust right through it to the downside.......

bigwavedave's picture

Reverse migration ain't gonna happen for anyone underwater on a mortgage. how many now?

AustriAnnie's picture

This is the problem in cities like Las Vegas.  Can't leave because they are stuck underwater.  Even if they get a job offer somewhere else, they can't take it because it would mean paying mortgage plus rent in another city.

Although many are choosing to just walk away, get work somewhere else and start over.  Migration is the only way they can make it, even if it means losing their home.  Which says something about just how desperate some people are, that they reverse migrate even if they have to lose everything in order to do it.  How badly must they think their prospects are for the future in order to make that choice?

Dr. Kananga's picture

" long until reverse migration kicks in, and all those hopefuls who had trekked to the big coastal cities dreaming of better prospects, leave in disenchantment..."

All things being equal, if half the population of California picked up and left for greener pastures (reverting to the population numbers of 1960), I'd be inclined to think it a good thing for California.

cj51's picture

the trend is to live near a city. there is not going to be any reverse migration. the farms and cattle ranches will become automated with 1 or 2 people hanging around to type some crap on their keyboard once in a while.


Stuck on Zero's picture

Those automated farms grow GMO guck that tastes like paste and is bathed in noxious chemicals. The big chain stores and fast food places like it because it lasts forever.  Happily handgrown organic crops selling well, taste great, and nourish the soul.


Vic Vinegar's picture

Great stuff dude.  Totally agree.

GMO labeling is going to be voted on in California this fall.  This is something everyone - from slewie to Robot to Rainman to every other spacemonkey out there - should get behind.

Paul Atreides's picture

100% behind you VV, it angers me that GMO veggies are not labeled up here in Canada.

Cathartes Aura's picture

NAFTA, unfair advantage, all things being equal, yadda yadda. . .  feed crop for feed lot(s).

Hangfire's picture

Doesn't have to be organic to "taste great and nourish the soul", that's the kind of line that makes my farmer relatives just laugh at the average persons understanding of how the farming world works.  

Umh's picture

While I essentially agree with you that food doesn't need to be organic to taste great. I grew up on and around farms, but I've given up on eating certain foods that I have to get from grocery stores. The high chance that peaches, apples, plums won't taste good keeps me from buying them unless I know that they are fresh ( this usually means local).

People do deserve to know what they are eating; food needs to be accurately labelled. If someone chooses to pay more for organic carrots let'em. If someone doesn't want to eat GM foods let them eat something else; hell it will create another niche market,

DaveyJones's picture

Jeffery Smith has done some great work in the GMO area. GMOs are probably the most dangerous least understood science project we have ever played with.

also recommend the documentary THe Future of Food 

and A Farm for the Future

Resource limits including water (tables and aquifers) will probably give us no choice but to return to permaculture methods which is how man played with food for most of his existence. Just shipping food thousands of miles, despite all the resource waste, reduces its nutrition tremendously before it makes it into your mouth. There are many biointensive methods (John Jeavons) and year round techniques (Elliot Coleman) together with the 7 layer method of permaculture and perennial crops which are amazingly more productive per square foot than any "modern" methods. If local, they also require less labor   

Cathartes Aura's picture

permaculture just makes intuitive sense, great links DaveyJones

GMOs are probably the most dangerous least understood science project we have ever played with.

GMO fud crops, enforced "medical care" - sounds like a way to monitor the ongoing experiment with toxicity, see how it "effects" the herd, where to tweek it in the future to get the desired results. . .

geoffb's picture

The wrath of grapes?

Raul Duke's picture

only that family moved because of industrial progress, because of tractor. now what ? back to manual labor ? i dont think so

blunderdog's picture

     now what ? back to manual labor ? i dont think so

Oh, it's coming, it'll just take a good long while. 

The transition from a labor-intensive society to a fuel-intensive society was very rapid.  The transition back will be much slower, but put simply, most of the developed world isn't going to be able to AFFORD this shit for too much longer. 

Still, it'll be for the benefit of most of the world's population, as most of the world's population is going to remain dirt-poor.