This series of maps from the New York Times illustrates Idaho’s hard reality, with respect to the jobless rate. While most states have seen unemployment drop since the end of the recession, Idaho is among the handful that have watched unemployment rise. In June of 2009, Idaho’s rate stood at 7.6 percent. Last month, it was 9.2 percent.
As the Times reports, economists wonder whether the slow recovery in parts of the West and South constitutes a lasting shift in the nation’s economic landscape.
“Unemployment remains high across much of the country — the national rate is 9.1 percent — but the regions have recovered at different speeds.
Now, with the concentration of the highest unemployment rates in the South and the West, some economists wonder if it is an anomaly of the uneven recovery or a harbinger of things to come.” – The New York Times
Mike Ferguson, Idaho’s former chief economist, says it’s painful to acknowledge the reality of the state’s predicament. “Idaho is characterized by having turned down earlier and deeper,” he said, “and it’s turning around more slowly than other states.”
Ferguson doesn’t see signs of a rally ahead. He looks at the national numbers, which show job growth has stalled, and says Idaho’s situation is even more dire. “In Idaho,” he said, “it looks like it’s slipping.”