Recession, By The Numbers

We’ve been noting the rise in unemployment rates as the recession has dragged on.  This article also addresses the increase in welfare rolls as unemployment benefits expire, including a sharp jump in the number of food stamp recipients.  The article includes a well-done interactive graph that allows state-by-state comparison of unemployment rates over the course of the recession.  Michigan’s unemployment rate has increased steadily and is now a staggering 14.1%.  The bad economy also has hit the Sun Belt states; California’s rate is a stunning 11.5%.  Who would have thought that Nevada would have a higher unemployment rate than Ohio, or that Florida would have a significantly higher unemployment rate than Pennsylvania?

The statistics help to explain why states like California are having such difficulty balancing their budgets.  As the recession deepens, jobs are lost and businesses close, which adversely affects the revenue side, and citizens begin to use more government programs and government money, which increases expenses.  The data also suggest that the rosy scenarios that underlay the federal stimulus bill and the federal budget projections are not panning out, and that federal budget deficits will be higher than forecast.

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