The Geography of Unemployment

More

The U.S. unemployment rate is nearly nine percent but varies widely by gender, race, and also by state and metropolitan region. The unemployment rate is up in 44 of 50 states, according to new BLS estimates released yesterday. Last month, 106 U.S. metros reported jobless rates of 10 percent or more, while 90 had rates below seven percent, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Greater Detroit posted the highest rate for large regions (those with a million or more people), 14 percent. Ten other regions posted rates in excess of 10 percent. The lowest levels of unemployment were found in greater New Orleans, 3.3 percent and Oklahoma City, 5.6 percent. Greater Portland, Oregon saw the largest jump in its unemployment rate (+6.5 percentage points), followed by greater Charlotte (+6.2 points) and greater Detroit (+6.0 points).

Writing over at Economix, Ed Glaeser previously identified the effects of manufacturing economies and human capital (the share of people with a bachelor's degree or above).on the unemployment rate. But how do these factors and others effect the change in the unemployment rate? So, Charlotta Mellander and I decided to take a look the effects of human capital and the occupational or classstructure on the change in the unemployment rate over the past year or so.

Large increases in regional unemployment are heavily concentrated in regions with a large percentage of working class jobs - that is, jobs in industrial production, transportation, and construction. Working class jobs are significantly correlated with change in the unemployment rate (0.35) 


Unemployment and Working Class.JPG

Regions with higher levels of human capital and higher percentages of the creative class have fared considerably better. Both are negatively and significant correlated with increases in the unemployment rate (the correlation for each being roughly -0.3),

Unemployment and Creative Class.JPG


Thumbnail image for Unemployment Human Capital.JPG

Interestingly enough, regions with large concentrations of low-end, standardized service jobs (like food prep, building maintenance, and personal care services) also fare better than those with large working class concentrations. (The correlation between the change in the unemployment rate and the share of service class jobs is -0.26).

Many service jobs, by their very nature, are less amenable to global competition or to off-shoring. It's hard to out-source the person who cuts your hair, mows your lawn, or takes care of your children or an ailing parent. But these jobs are typically lower-paying and less secure than manufacturing jobs.

Here's a thought: Instead of bemoaning the loss of what were once high-pay, family-supporting manufacturing jobs, why not consider ways to upgrade these jobs that we seem to be retaining and in some cases retaining even during this downturn.

 

Unemployment and Service Class.JPG 


Jump to comments
Presented by

Richard Florida is Co-founder and Editor at Large of CityLab.com and Senior Editor at The Atlantic. He is director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and Global Research Professor at NYU. More

Florida is author of The Rise of the Creative ClassWho's Your City?, and The Great Reset. He's also the founder of the Creative Class Group, and a list of his current clients can be found here
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

From This Author

Just In