Job numbers still reflect recession
WASHINGTON — Five years after the Great Recession officially ended, most states still haven’t regained all the jobs they lost, even though the nation as a whole has.
West Virginia is one of the few states in the region to have more jobs that it had in December 2007 in part because of the boom in the natural gas industry in the northern parts of the state. West Virginia is up 3 percent, but Ohio is still down 2.2 percent to 2007 and Kentucky is down 1 percent.
In May, the overall economy finally recovered all 9 million jobs that vanished in the worst downturn since the 1930s. Another month of solid hiring is expected in the U.S. jobs report for June that will be released Thursday.
Yet 32 states still have fewer jobs than when the recession began in December 2007 — evidence of the unevenness and persistently slow pace of the recovery.
Even though economists declared the recession over in June 2009, Illinois is still down 184,000 jobs from pre-recession levels. New Jersey is down 147,000. Both states were hurt by layoffs at factories. Florida is down 170,000 in the aftermath of its real estate market collapse.
The sluggish job market could weigh on voters in some key states when they go to the polls this fall. A Quinnipiac University poll out Wednesday found that voters named the economy by far the biggest problem facing the United States.
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