The Economy is Horrible?
The Pacific Northwest has had the highest unemployment in the nation during the Bush Administrations, and similar numbers existed in the Clinton Administrations. But things are looking up.
Washington’s latest unemployment rate improved to 4.6 percent in updated January figures released Tuesday by the state Department of Employment Security.
The adjustment, reflecting new workforce numbers from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, dropped the state rate one notch from the previously announced 4.7 percent, which was described as the lowest jobless rate in six years.
The state’s rate now is lower than the national average of 4.7 percent, officials said.
Oregon is reporting similar numbers. Looking at the data, we have an overall under 5% unemployment rate, which during my MBA classes a decade ago was the break point for employment figures. Below 5% they said then, you end you with “unnatural unemployment,” leading to artificially increased wages for low end workers, leading to inflation.
However, delving deeper into the numbers, we find the urban areas have much lower unemployment numbers, and the rural area higher unemployment. Some rural counties are at over 10%, while all the urban area are under 5%. So much for the common knowledge of urban unemployment.
The outlier here is how much this survey was affected by illegal immigrants, primarily from Mexico (if this were DC I would say Central America instead, just stating where most of the illegal immigrants come from – though Thailand is a significant source in WA State too). The whole non-farm worker count can be subject to error.
Bottom line – unemployment rates in the traditionally worst states are below historical averages, but this isn’t being commented on. Instead you hear how bad the economy is. There is a disconnect.
Raw date here http://www.wa.gov/esd