Once booming Nevada, California and Florida move to end of the line, according to new economic study

A homeless man in downtown Las Vegas.
Three states that only five years enjoyed historic booms that put them near the top of many national economic rankings - Nevada, California, and Florida - now have the country's weakest economies, according to a midyear review of by business website Portfolio.com and national business periodical publisher bizjournals.

The half-decade has been particularly devastating to my home state of Nevada, which finished #1 in the business publications' mid-year review in 2005, but now is dead last. Its results were only about one-half a percentage point worse than California, which was 11th in 2005, and finished 50th this year. (The District of Columbia is included in the rankings.) Florida was second five years ago and is 49th this year.

Several factors sent all three states to the back of the line, primarily their boom-and-bust real estate sector and dramatic declines in tourism that's been driven by the global Great Recession.

Empty Florida beach chairs
Nevada, California, and Florida have collectively lost 1.69 million jobs since 2005 - or the equivalent of 926 jobs A DAY. All are struggling with double-digit jobless rates. The Silver State again is the worst; its June unemployment rate was 14.2% and the jobless rate of its most-populous city, Las Vegas, was 14.5%. Both were records, and federal figures slated to be released tomorrow will show whether Las Vegas has the worst unemployment among major U.S. cities for the second consecutive month.

Portfolio.com and bizjournals rely on a nine-part formula to analyze state employment trends. It uses U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data over the latest five-year period and zeroes in on raw and percentage changes in private-sector employment, as well as unemployment rates.

Forty states had fewer jobs in May 2010 than five years earlier. The nation lost a total of 4.51 million private-sector positions between mid-2005 and mid-2010.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
The middle of the country and the Northeast have fared best during the Great Recession. Seven of the 10 strongest states gained a total of 485,600 jobs. Their collective unemployment rate was 7.9%, as of May.

The 10 states at the bottom of the standings faced an overall unemployment rate of 11.8% in May. They collectively lost 3.12 million jobs during the five years, or 1,710 jobs A DAY.

For the complete ranking, click here.

No comments: