Coronavirus / Employment / Finance / Opinion / Politics

Red State Recovery, Blue State Recession

stateA review of current state unemployment rates reveals a stark partisan divide between the states with the highest and lowest unemployment rates. As the chart below reflects, nine of ten states with the highest recent unemployment rates have a Democratic governor (the tenth is deep-blue Massachusetts, currently led by Republican governor Charlie Baker). Meanwhile eight of the ten states with the lowest unemployment rates have a Republican governor (with the two exceptions being otherwise red states of Montana and Kentucky). The 30 states in the middle are more evenly split — 17 have a Republican governor and 13 have a Democratic governor.

States by Current Total Unemployment Rate (TUR) and Governor’s Party

Sources: Department of Labor. Total unemployment rate is the most recent three-month seasonally adjusted average total unemployment rate (TUR). Governor’s party affiliation here.

The chart above applies the unemployment rate metrics used by the longstanding federal-state extended benefits (EB) program. That program provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed in “high unemployment” states, which have a three-month seasonally adjusted total unemployment rate (TUR) of 6.5 percent or higher, among other criteria. EB likewise provides up to 20 weeks of benefits in “extremely high unemployment” states with a TUR of 8.0 percent or higher, again among other criteria. States for their part tend to game this system — opting in when the federal government is paying the entire cost of benefits as it is temporarily doing now, and often opting out when they must cover half of program costs.

During the coronavirus recession, federal support has gone well beyond paying benefits targeted according to a state’s unemployment rate, as the EB program does. Extraordinary unemployment benefits not tied to a state’s unemployment rate include the now-expired $600-per-week federal bonuses, the unprecedented federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance  program that currently assists over 10 million previously uncovered individuals, and the payment of 13 weeks of federal benefits under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Those and other benefits have been payable regardless of state unemployment rates, and constitute the vast majority of the unprecedented over $350 billion in federal unemployment support provided this year. Despite the absence of an explicit unemployment rate linkage, as the Wall Street Journal has noted, these policies have meant blue states “with stricter and longer closures” resulting in elevated unemployment have received greater federal funding than red states where local economies recovered more quickly.

Senate Democratic leaders this summer proposed targeting future federal unemployment assistance — including revived federal bonuses of up to $600 and up to 52 weeks of federal extended benefits  to states where unemployment is the highest. As the chart shows, the greatest benefits under their plan would flow disproportionately to blue states. Also under their plan, states with the lowest unemployment rates — which tend to be red — would receive little or even no such federal support.

That legislation in turn is one part of far broader proposals some Washington lawmakers and other experts have crafted that would permanently link federal relief to where unemployment rates are highest. Those plans stretch beyond unemployment benefits to include vastly enhanced federal spending under entitlement programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and welfare, and even stimulus checks and transportation funding. In a Democratic election sweep, such proposals could become part of the next wave of relief legislation, turning temporary pandemic relief into permanent “automatic stimulus” payable well after the pandemic has passed.

Supporters of such plans will argue that would result in bigger, longer, and more certain relief where need is greatest. But among many other concerns, skeptics — likely citing charts like the one above — will note the obvious political implications. That is, that such automatic stimulus would tend to permanently grow federal subsidies for blue states whose policies contribute to elevated unemployment, while offering little or nothing to red states whose policies don’t.


Reprinted with Permission from - AEI by - Matt Weidinger

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1 year ago

My entire family totally against socialism.

Bill Brown
2 years ago

If you believe in Socialism, you have been BRAINWASHED!! For Socialism to exist, “the elites” must, by necessity, forcibly take (e.g. taxes) what everybody earns and dole it back-out to match their version of equity!! And, of course, “the elites” “earn” the right to keep “their share”!! Communism is that impossible mythical state where, through generations of Socialism, there will be no need for Government because all People have become “enlightened!!! Join the Trump Movement – The American Revolution 2.0!!! Become a Counter-Revolutionary!!! Stand-up for Our Republic!!!! Remove Every DemocRat!!!!!

Bill Brown
2 years ago

In the 1930’s, Adolph Hitler: “Heute Deutschland, Morgen die Welt!” (Today Germany, tomorrow the World)!! Today, Chuck Schumer in the same year he threatened OUR Supreme Court: “Today Georgia, next we change the World!” The Leaders of Socialism never cease to be corrupted by its EVILS!!! Join the Trump Movement – The American Revolution 2.0!!! Become a Counter-Revolutionary!!! Stand-up for Our Republic!!!! Remove Every DemocRat!!!!!

Bill Brown
2 years ago

The DemocRats/Communists try to defame people by calling them NAZI’s. NAZI is a German acronym for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party! Americans have been brainwashed to believe that NAZI’s means extreme Racists and “right-wing” Authoritarians! In fact, NAZI is the German form of Socialism! It is a lie to call it “right-wing, as defined in most dictionaries. It was, in fact, a “left wing” authoritarian group, exactly the same as the DemocRats of today!!! The DemocRats of today, just as the NAZI’s, have also become Racist, condemning all white people (and anyone else) who will not join their “Cause”!!! Become a Counter-Revolutionary!!!  Stand-up for Our Republic!!!! Remove Every DemocRat!!!!!

2 years ago

I live in Darkest Blue California where our Governor thinks he is a Dictator that has the power of life or death over his subjects! Oh wait a minute, a Judge just reminded him that HE DOESN’T HAVE DICTATORIAL POWERS and that he is an elected official and not a ruler. California’s economy is so screwed up that people have been leaving in droves which is why neighboring Arizona has turned Blue this election. These Progressively Communist Democratic Jackasses have learned nothing and still are loyal to their Jackass beliefs. Of course, our 10 million illegals aren’t leaving and are hoping that President Trump isn’t re-elected so that they can continue to “colonize” California into becoming more Spanish than English. If Jackass Joe Biden is “allowed” to steal the Presidency, I will be forced to leave California to resettle into a Red State like Texas which I believe will lead Red States to secede from the Union because America will be forever changed and not for the better! We must all fight to save America and to rightfully restore Donald Trump as President elect! … God Save America!

Karen Alexander
2 years ago

I thntk it would be interesting if the unemployment graph could also show the compostition of each states’ legislature. I suggest that as WI while having a democratic governor for the past two years has been controlled by republicans for the past 10 years which I believe is the primary reason why our unemployment rate is as low as it is.

2 years ago

Some presidents are self made (Trump) and some, like Camelia Harris, are chosen.

2 years ago
Reply to  GTPatriot

Lol…Camel[l]ia: an insult to lovely flowers everywhere!

Last edited 2 years ago by Kim
2 years ago

I want to see Bidens taxes and BEFORE inauguration Barr needs to initiate a Russia-Ukraine collusion investigation of Biden and
with more repubs in the House, it may be possible to bring Jan 25 impeachment charges against Biden. I’m already certain that he
is guilty. I demand a Trump treatment of a Biden presidency and so do the rest of Trumps 70 million voters. No one is buying a “lets come together” act from Joe Biden.

2 years ago
Reply to  GTPatriot

Suppose they do as you have suggested and it leads to Biden’s impeachment in which the extreme leftist will enthusiastically join because if Biden is removed from office then Harris will become President. She’s way more extreme left than Biden. So the Socialist damages to America would be exacerbated.

2 years ago

Blue states are made up of non-ambitious citizens who expect their various state govts to take care of them along with the fed govt.
For example, Calif sits waiting for a federal bailout of their liberal mismanagement. Blue state citizens have gone along with decades of
job losses, thus the name “rust belt”, with the attitude ” oh well, I guess we just have to take it “. They are classical victims and are
perfect Biden customers. The smart ones left for the sun belt years ago. The Rust Belt attitude explains why Wis, Mi and MN went for
Biden. So glad to have been born in the south.
A problem with northern migration to the south is that the northern refugees can posses the attitude that the south should be run as their
failed northern states ( ie unions, huge state govt pensions, failed schools, high income tax) None of the rust belt states could exist with
no state income tax as Texas, Tenn, and FL.

2 years ago
Reply to  GTPatriot

But, aren’t “no state income taxes” an incentive to attract people? I think unions, which historically have backed democrats, and industries where their presence is heavy tend to be located in blue states.

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