Stateline Story

Unemployment: A Lost Decade for 12 States

  • March 11, 2010
  • By John Gramlich

California has fewer people in its workforce today than it did in 1999. For Alabama and Indiana, 1993 is the last time the employment ranks were so thin. And for Michigan — unquestionably the nation's hardest-hit state in terms of unemployment — 4.1 million people have jobs today. That's the smallest total since August of 1987, when Ronald Reagan was president.

Those grim statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor are highlighted by The Christian Science Monitor in a notable item today (March 11) that takes a long-term look at the national unemployment crisis. In all, 12 states now have a smaller total workforce than they did a decade ago, The Monitor reports.

Besides Alabama, California, Indiana and Michigan, the "lost decade" states are Delaware, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The Monitor includes a chart that lists each of the 12 states' total workforces today and the year in which it was last this bad.

"Across the whole country, workers' climb out of the great recession looks to be long and arduous. But for workers in these states, the first hurdle will simply be reaching the employment levels they had a decade or two ago," The Monitor reports.