Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

22 August 2012

State Unemployment and Election Consequences

Looking at state unemployment percentages and their changes over the last year for the purpose of trying to envision the effect upon the November presidential election is difficult.  This is because the unemployment percentages become meaningless due to people dropping out of the workforce in this interminable Great Socialist Recession.  We also know the seasonal adjustments are suspect due to unusual effects in this very long jobs recession.  Fortunately, the one really useful table for dealing with election effects in the Bureau of Labor Statistics State Unemployment Report based on July 2012 data is Table 4.  This table provides Labor Force Data without Seasonal Adjustment.  Unfortunately real employment numbers are not given, but the workforce number is very important in its own right.

Clearly, the people of a state whose civilian labor force is shrinking are likely to feel as their state economy is hurting and are likely by now to hold this against Obama.  A shrinking workforce means that the sum of the people employed or considered by the BLS to be actively seeking work has become smaller in the time from July 2011 to July 2012 in Table 4.  If the number is shrinking, then employment is not growing and/or discouraged people have given up looking for work.  Even when a workforce is growing, this is not necessarily adequate growth for a growing population.  We have to remember that from 2000 to 2010, the Census told us that the population grew by 1.0% a year.  In normal times, this would mean that unless employment grew by 1% a year, unemployment would go up.

From July 2011 to July 2012, the workforce actually contracted in the following states:

Alabama
Arizona
Connecticut
Hawaii
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Missouri
Nevada
New Mexico, leaning to Obama
Ohio
Oregon, leaning to Obama
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee

The people of these states should be furious at what Obama and the Democrats have done to the economy to keep it from recovering from the recession.  Of course the people of Connecticut and Hawaii do not have nearly enough sense to be furious, but there should be numerous people in the other states who will be as they think more and more about how miserable they are in this never-ending recession.  The states in red are pretty certain for Romney, while those in blue are certain for Obama.  The other states in black should be feeling a substantial desire to turn to Romney to help end their woes as the people of those states think more a and more about who they will vote for in November.  Iowa, Ohio, and Nevada are generally thought to be swing states in the election, while New Mexico and Oregon are thought to be leaning to Obama, but may prove unstable with time and may require Obama to spend some time campaigning in them so he will not lose them.

Among the swing states and those which may not be solid for either candidate presently which failed to increase their workforce by 1% to keep up with the average national population growth are these states with the percentage increase in the workforce in the last year:

Colorado, 0.4%
Florida, 0.5%
Maine, leaning to Obama, 0.9%
Michigan, 0.3%
Minnesota, leaning to Obama, 0.1%
New Hampshire, 0.3%
North Carolina, 0.2%
Virginia, 0.9%
Wisconsin, 0.3%

Only Maine and Virginia managed to generate workforce growth above 0.5%.  The average workforce growth for these critical electoral vote states was only 0.43%.

We find that every one of  the swing states or states that are tenuous now for Obama is on one of these two lists.  This presents a strong opportunity for the Romney-Ryan ticket to build its electoral vote count enough to win the election.  In fact, the people of these states will have to be very disappointingly unobservant if they do not turn strongly toward the pro-private sector Republican ticket with its interest in strong businesses, many more jobs, and a lower cost of living.  Romney could well win Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin based on their workforce weakness over the last year.  This would give Romney a 317 to 221 electoral vote win over Obama.  This is close to my 25 June prediction here.

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