Monday, January 12, 2009

5 adjoining rural states lowest in unemployment

As unemployment last month reached peaks not seen in six decades, five adjoining states with largely rural landscapes had the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Nebraska were all at 3.7 percent or lower in November, compared to 6.7 percent nationally. The following month, the national rate hit 7.2 percent; state rates have not yet been published.

Ernie Goss, an economics professor at Creighton University in Omaha, told Dirk Lammers of The Associated Press that the five states have been "insulated, but not isolated" from the recession. Goss says a more stable housing market, willingness to relocate, and a greater margin of error due to smaller sample sizes may all affect the rates. Other contributing factors may include a history of more cautious lending practices, strong commodity prices for wheat, soybeans and corn, and falling fuel prices. (Read more) We would add as additional factors the oil and gas industries in Utah, Wyoming and North Dakota.

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