Are America's Fattest States Also the Most Jobless?

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Fat People Can't Get Jobs, announces Gawker this afternoon. The evidence? Two maps that "show" that the South is fat and jobless, and plains states are svelte and job-secure. This is not a reasonable observation.


First let's look at the maps. This juxtaposition doesn't make a lot of sense. The unemployment map on the left comes from a time-lapse slide show you can follow here -- but the still is from October 2008, when the unemployment rate was still under 7 percent. Today the unemployment rate is 10 percent. Updated, the unemployment color scheme has rendered the country totally black and blue.

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Moreover, I don't see much overlap in these graphs in the first place. California and Oregon are slim and dead out of work. Nebraska is fattish and happily employed. In fact, if you look at the top ten fattest states and the ten states with the worst unemployment rate, the overlap is just three: Michigan (not in the south), South Carolina and Kentucky. None of those qualify as Deep South. In fact, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas have three of the country's 20 best employment rates.

I'm sure there's good evidence for weight discrimination in the workplace. These maps aren't a part of that evidence.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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