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Will Pawlenty Have a Minnesota Economic Recovery to Run on in 2012?

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Minnesota has endured second lowest increase in unemployment in the country since the 2008 Election

Although he governs a state mired in a budget crisis and continues to be dogged by the media for his aggressive travel schedule, Governor Tim Pawlenty may nonetheless be quietly padding his 2012 resume for his handling of the Gopher State economy.

With new national unemployment numbers for December set to be announced on Friday morning, the most recent state-level statistics show Pawlenty presiding over the second lowest increase in seasonally adjusted unemployment rates across the nation over the past year.

From November 2008 to November 2009, Minnesota's jobless rate has increased 21.3 percent - from 6.1 to 7.4 percent. That marks the second lowest rate of increase across the 50 states, bested only by Vermont's nation low 20.8 percent increase.

During this 12-month span, Minnesota has moved up 8 slots on the list of states with the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. The Gopher State is currently tied for the 16th lowest jobless rate in the country. Back in November 2008, Minnesota was tied for the 24th lowest.

During this same period, the neighboring state of Iowa has dropped from tied for the 7th lowest to 9th lowest while its rates have increased 55.8 percent. Wisconsin has fallen from tied for 18th lowest to 22nd lowest as its rates have climbed 51.9 percent.

South Dakota's unemployment rate remains the third lowest in the country as it was one year ago, although its rates are up 47.1 percent. North Dakota has moved up from #2 to #1 with a jobless rate of just 4.1 percent even though its jobless rate has jumped 28.1 percent during this 12-month period.

Of course, it is conceptually tricky for a governor of any state to boast about a record that has endured significant job losses, just not as bad as most of the country.

Moreover, when Governor Pawlenty took office in January 2003 Minnesota had the 13th lowest unemployment rate in the nation - so the Gopher State is down three spots across the nearly seven years of the Pawlenty administration. Minnesota's unemployment rate has increased 57.4 percent during that span, which is the 24th highest rate of increase in the country.

That said, Minnesota's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate relative to the national rate has improved during Pawlenty's two terms. Back in January 2003, Minnesota's jobless rate of 4.7 percent was 19 percent lower than the nation overall (5.8 percent). Through November 2009, the Gopher State's 7.4 percent jobless rate was 26 percent lower than the country as a whole (10.0 percent).

And as the Republican Party looks for more talking points heading into the 2010 election season, it may want to note that eight of the ten states with the lowest rates of increase in unemployment since November 2008 have GOP governors at the helm: Vermont (#1), Minnesota (#2), Nebraska (#3), Louisiana (#4), Alaska (#6), North Dakota (#7), Mississippi (#9), and Connecticut (#10).

Change in Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate by State, November 2008-November 2009

Rank
State
Governor
Nov '08
Nov '09
Change
1
Vermont
GOP
5.3
6.4
20.8
2
Minnesota
GOP
6.1
7.4
21.3
3
Nebraska
GOP
3.6
4.5
25.0
4
Louisiana
GOP
5.3
6.7
26.4
5
Colorado
DEM
5.4
6.9
27.8
6
Alaska
GOP
6.8
8.7
27.9
7
North Dakota
GOP
3.2
4.1
28.1
8
Maine
DEM
6.2
8.0
29.0
9
Mississippi
GOP
7.4
9.6
29.7
10
Connecticut
GOP
6.3
8.2
30.2
11
Montana
DEM
4.9
6.4
30.6
12
Kansas
DEM
4.8
6.3
31.3
13
Arkansas
DEM
5.5
7.4
34.5
14
New York
DEM
6.3
8.6
36.5
15
Indiana
GOP
7.0
9.6
37.1
16
Arizona
GOP
6.4
8.9
39.1
17
Pennsylvania
DEM
6.1
8.5
39.3
18
Rhode Island
GOP
9.1
12.7
39.6
19
Missouri
DEM
6.8
9.5
39.7
20
Oregon
DEM
7.8
11.1
42.3
21
Hawaii
GOP
4.9
7.0
42.9
22
Tennessee
DEM
7.2
10.3
43.1
23
Virginia
DEM
4.6
6.6
43.5
24
Georgia
GOP
7.1
10.2
43.7
25
North Carolina
DEM
7.5
10.8
44.0
26
Massachusetts
DEM
6.1
8.8
44.3
27
Maryland
DEM
5.1
7.4
45.1
28
South Dakota
GOP
3.4
5.0
47.1
29
Kentucky
DEM
7.2
10.6
47.2
30
Texas
GOP
5.4
8.0
48.1
31
California
GOP
8.3
12.3
48.2
32
Ohio
DEM
7.1
10.6
49.3
33
South Carolina
GOP
8.2
12.3
50.0
34
Washington
DEM
6.1
9.2
50.8
35
Delaware
DEM
5.6
8.5
51.8
36
Wisconsin
DEM
5.4
8.2
51.9
37
Michigan
DEM
9.6
14.7
53.1
38
Nevada
GOP
8.0
12.3
53.8
39
New Jersey
DEM
6.3
9.7
54.0
40
Iowa
DEM
4.3
6.7
55.8
41
Idaho
GOP
5.8
9.1
56.9
42
Illinois
DEM
6.9
10.9
58.0
43
Oklahoma
DEM
4.4
7.0
59.1
44
Florida
GOP
7.2
11.5
59.7
45
New Hampshire
DEM
4.1
6.7
63.4
46
Utah
GOP
3.8
6.3
65.8
47
Alabama
GOP
6.2
10.5
69.4
48
New Mexico
DEM
4.6
7.8
69.6
49
West Virginia
DEM
4.3
8.4
95.3
50
Wyoming
DEM
3.1
7.2
132.3
Note: Bureau of Labor Statistics data compiled by Smart Politics.

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1 Comment


  • More than likely not. At best he will own that catchy campaign slogan: " I balanced the budget without increasing taxes"

    Now whether the media chooses point out the irony of the techniques used in "balancing" the budget is another thing. The shifts, the one time monies are so called cash management tools to help square the bottom line. But I think that its fair to say, we will be coming back to revisit this issue when the next governor takes office, as most of the cuts have been deferred until after Pawlenty leaves office.

  • Leave a comment


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