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Minnesota Has Lowest Rate of Increase in Unemployment in Nation During Obama's First Year in Office

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Gopher State shed the fewest jobs across the country with just a 1.4 percent net rise in its jobless rate from January 2009-January 2010; 50-state average is +25.5 percent

With seasonally adjusted unemployment numbers for January 2010 now released for all 50 states at the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Minnesota's jobs situation vis-à-vis the rest of the country is rosier than any other state through the first year of President Barack Obama's administration.

A Smart Politics analysis of BLS data from January 2009 through January 2010 finds the Gopher State to have absorbed only a 1.4 percent net increase in unemployment, from 7.2 to 7.3 percent, during Obama's first 12 months in office - the lowest rate of increase in the nation.

In fact, only four states in the country have seen jobless rate increases of less than double digits: Minnesota (1.4 percent increase), North Dakota (5.0 percent), Vermont (8.1 percent), and Oregon (8.1 percent).

The average rate of increase in unemployment during this 12-month span across the 50 states and District of Columbia is 25.5 percent.

The five states that have suffered through the most severe escalation in the rate of men and women filing jobless claims are Wyoming (+72.7 percent), West Virginia (+60.3 percent), New Mexico (+44.1 percent), Illinois (+39.5 percent), and Idaho (+38.8 percent). The District of Columbia has also undergone an increase in unemployment of +42.9 percent from January 2009-January 2010.

While Minnesota does not have the lowest unemployment rate in the country - that distinction belongs to neighboring North Dakota (at 4.2 percent) - the Gopher State has seen its unemployment rate improve from the 29th lowest in the nation to the 13th lowest since President Obama took office.

The 16-state jump up the employment ladder for Minnesota is also the best in the nation over the past year. Oregon (moving up 12 states from #49 to #37), Vermont (+11 from #17 to #6), and Maine (+11 from #30 to #19) also significantly improved their employment standing vis-à-vis the rest of the nation.

West Virginia's 16-state slide was the biggest (falling from the 13th lowest rate in unemployment to the 29th), followed by Wyoming's 13-state fall (from #4 to #17), and Illinois' 10-state drop (from #34 to #44).

The remarkable stability in the unemployment rate in Minnesota compared to the rest of the nation has not seemingly benefited Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty, however, whose constituents recently gave him his lowest marks of his 7+ years in office.

The country's economic recession and rise in unemployment started well before Obama took office, of course, but Minnesota still fares very well against the rest of the nation when comparing jobless trends even going back two years to January 2008.

Over the past 24 months, Minnesota has had the 4th lowest increase in unemployment across the country at a rate of 55.3 percent (from 4.7 to 7.3 percent).

Only Alaska (37.1 percent), North Dakota (44.8 percent), and Arkansas (55.1 percent) have had lower increases in the rate of unemployment during this two-year span.

Rate of Increase in Unemployment During Barack Obama Administration by State, January 2009-January 2010

State
Jan-09
Jan-10
Change
'09 rank
'10 rank
Minnesota
7.2
7.3
1.4
29
13
North Dakota
4.0
4.2
5.0
1
1
Vermont
6.2
6.7
8.1
17
6
Oregon
9.9
10.7
8.1
49
37
Indiana
8.8
9.7
10.2
42
34
Colorado
6.7
7.4
10.4
20
14
South Dakota
4.3
4.8
11.6
3
3
Nebraska
4.1
4.6
12.2
2
2
Maine
7.3
8.2
12.3
30
19
Kansas
5.6
6.4
14.3
8
4
Arizona
8.0
9.2
15.0
33
28
Hawaii
6.0
6.9
15.0
15
10
Arkansas
6.5
7.6
16.9
19
17
Missouri
8.1
9.5
17.3
34
32
Kentucky
9.1
10.7
17.6
43
37
Tennessee
9.1
10.7
17.6
43
37
Alaska
7.1
8.5
19.7
24
21
North Carolina
9.2
11.1
20.7
45
42
Virginia
5.7
6.9
21.1
11
10
Montana
5.6
6.8
21.4
8
8
Utah
5.6
6.8
21.4
8
8
Wisconsin
7.1
8.7
22.5
24
23
Maryland
6.1
7.5
23.0
16
16
Georgia
8.4
10.4
23.8
38
36
New York
7.1
8.8
23.9
24
24
Washington
7.5
9.3
24.0
31
29
Ohio
8.6
10.8
25.6
40
40
South Carolina
10.0
12.6
26.0
50
48
Michigan
11.3
14.3
26.5
51
51
Connecticut
7.1
9.0
26.8
24
26
Iowa
5.2
6.6
26.9
6
5
Texas
6.4
8.2
28.1
18
19
Delaware
7.0
9.0
28.6
23
26
California
9.7
12.5
28.9
48
47
Pennsylvania
6.8
8.8
29.4
22
24
Louisiana
5.7
7.4
29.8
11
14
New Jersey
7.5
9.9
32.0
31
35
Rhode Island
9.6
12.7
32.3
46
49
Mississippi
8.2
10.9
32.9
37
41
Massachusetts
7.1
9.5
33.8
24
32
Oklahoma
5.0
6.7
34.0
5
6
New Hampshire
5.2
7.0
34.6
6
12
Nevada
9.6
13.0
35.4
46
50
Florida
8.7
11.9
36.8
41
45
Alabama
8.1
11.1
37.0
34
42
Idaho
6.7
9.3
38.8
20
29
Illinois
8.1
11.3
39.5
34
44
DC
8.4
12.0
42.9
38
46
New Mexico
5.9
8.5
44.1
14
21
West Virginia
5.8
9.3
60.3
13
29
Wyoming
4.4
7.6
72.7
4
17
Bureau of Labor Statistics data compiled by Smart Politics.

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