Related BLS programs | Related articles
March, 1985, Vol. 108, No. 3
Changes in regional unemployment
over the last decade
During the mid-1970's, the Northeast and the West experienced the highest unemployment rates in the Nation, but after a strong expansion in the late 1970's and severe recessions in the early 1980's, high unemployment was concentrated in a band of States stretching from the Great Lakes south to the Gulf of Mexico. Business cycle swings, as well as differences in industrial structure and demography, account for the geographic shift in unemployment. While all regions benefited from the robust 1983-84 recovery, the East South Central division (Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama) improved less rapidly than other areas, and its jobless rate in 1984 was the highest of the nine census divisions. In contrast, New England continued its dramatic improvement into the current recovery, and its unemployment rate in 1983 and 1984 was much lower than that in any other census division.
This article analyzes employment and unemployment changes during three distinct cyclical swings.1 It contrasts the 1976-79 period, when employment rose strongly and unemployment declined, with the 1979-82 period, when employment growth slowed and unemployment increased sharply. Emphasis is placed on how these two periods, as well as the recovery in 1983-84, affected different sections of the country. Employment developments in the four census regions and nine divisions within these regions (and occasionally individual States) are used to demonstrate major subnational variations.2
This excerpt is from an article published in the March 1985 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
Read abstract Download full article in PDF (846K)
1 Business cycle peaks and troughs are designated by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
2 The States which compose the census regions and divisions are:
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin
Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota
Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia
Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee
Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas
Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming
Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington
Related BLS programs
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
Local Area Unemployment Statistics
Related Monthly Labor Review articles
A decade of economic change and population shifts in U.S. regions.—Nov. 1996.
Atlantic and Pacific coasts' labor markets hit hard in early 1990's.—Feb. 1993.
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers