NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Some Areas Experience Unemployment During Boom

June 9, 1997

Even in the most economically robust states, pockets of high unemployment can be found. Analysts contend that some counties, towns and cities think they are too insulated by thriving state and national economies to be punished for not reacting to global competition.

  • Some 241 counties out of the U.S. total of 3,140 -- or about 8 percent -- averaged 10 percent or greater unemployment in April 1997, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Forty-nine of these counties recorded unemployment above 15 percent, and 14 experienced unemployment over 20 percent.
  • Presidio County, Texas, had the nation's highest April 1997 rate, at 35.8 percent.
  • Experts say that strikes and mine and plant closings are often responsible for sudden huge increases in unemployment in formerly stable areas -- often those which depended on single companies or industries and failed to diversify their economies, despite warnings.

Victims of unemployment tend to blame factors ranging from globalization of the economy and competition from cheaper overseas labor, to the apathy of local officials.

Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent in May, according to the Labor Department -- the lowest since 1973 -- and the economy has created 6.5 million new jobs since 1994.

Source: Del Jones, "Jobless in a Hot Economy," USA Today, June 9, 1997.


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