Unemployement rates hit new lows

Despite reassurances that the economy is improving, the jobless rates have not turned the corner. NASDAQ reported yesterday that hiring is still a challenge.

from NASDAQ:

“There is no question that the job market poses severe challenges,” said Alan Krueger, Treasury Department assistant secretary for economic policy, in a speech to the American Academy of Actuaries. “But the increased stability in financial markets and support for aggregate demand from the [Financial Stability Plan] and [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] provide indications that the rescue is underway.”

“Severe challenge” doesn’t quite highlight the unemployment mire some states are in. Reports late last week say that 15 states and D.C. have topped or exceeded 10% unemployment. The national rate, now at a 26 year high of 9.6%, will likely pass 10% by the end of 2009.

Michigan, slugged in the gut by failing automakers, has reached 15.2% unemployment. Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and D.C. are also at or over 10% unemployment, but trail Michigan’s high.

Maine has fared better than the rest of the country. Maine’s current jobless rate is 8.2% as of June. This is down from a high of 8.9% back in February of 2009. Maine is performing better or close to most of our New England neighbors: Connecticut 8.1%, Massachusetts 8.6%, Rhode Island 12.4%, New Hampshire 6.8%. Cumberland County has the lowest unemployment rate at 6.6% while Piscataquis County holds the state high of 12.8%. The discrepancy can be attributed to the decline in logging, the paper industry, and products manufacturing which the Piscataquis County economy relies on at this point.

This is the climate our next Governor will be elected into. Good luck. Whoever gets elected, just don’t tip the boat over. That’s all I ask.

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