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Monday, December 22, 2008

Slumping South Carolina

Odd coincidence: over the weekend, I was on the Center for American Progress website (liberal/Democratic think tank, run by John Podesta--former chief of staff for Bill Clinton, and now helping run Obama's transition):

I had visited at least once before, when I was searching for intro material on carbon emission cap-and-trade.  Conveniently, they'd put together a Cap-and-Trade 101 document:

Looking through their econ stuff, I came across this interactive map showing unemployment rates state-by-state:

Not surprising that Michigan is top at 9.6%; somewhat surprising is that the next three were California, South Carolina (both at 8.4%) and Oregon (8.1%).  

And then today, Krugman had a blog post today titled "Southern Discomfort", linking to a NYT article from today's paper about Columbia, SC.  Writes Krugman (

Heartrending story in the Times about the woes of South Carolina. In fact, unemployment rates in the Southeast have risen more than in the United States as a whole; there's a sort of Slump Belt extending from the industrial Midwest down to the Carolinas.

Why is this happening? The Slump Belt does sort of look like the "auto corridor"; maybe what we're seeing is the geographical location of cyclically sensitive manufacturing industries. Anyway, it's striking that the worst of the crisis is hitting states that largely didn't experience a housing bubble.


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