Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dynamics of US Unemployment

I was catching up on Dave Cohen's blog the other day, when I came across the amazing video above, which was put together by journalist Latoya Egwuekwe.

I have to say I was really surprised by the degree of geographical contagion displayed above.  I would have thought the primary driver of unemployment was the credit crisis, and withdrawal of credit, and that would present a national signal which would affect all regions roughly in sync.  However, it's abundantly clear that there are tremendously strong local effects in the economy: employment in each county is likely to remain fairly strong until the neighboring counties go down, so the whole recession spreads out from the initial areas of weakness.

I watched it over and over again, pausing and manually stepping it through the frames.


Burk Braun said...

Visually stunning, but I would doubt that this represents a contagion process. Rather, it represents a pre-existing geographic correlation of economic conditions- shared industrial sectors, housing patterns, governmental deficit positions and similar issues.

Gary said...

I wonder if pattern relates to the fraction of urban population of a region. The least hard hit seem to be the bread-basket areas where there is probably a high degree of self-sufficiency.

gu said...


This correlates with the democrat-leaning states with some exceptions (e.g. Florida).

Should be cross-correlated with the change in political attitudes.

People tend to become more conservative when under economic pressure, then eventually change back wen the poitical elite does not deliver.

So this is at first an advantage for the red-state teabaggers.

Told-You-so attitude.

'Now get rid of evolution, climate-change and all your other strange beliefs!'

Looks like the Democrat majority was just an episode.

Obama already compromising with nuclear power and offshore drilling.

Not good.

james said...

I for one am in favour of nuclear power. I think that wind and solar will play a role, but I think that fission reactors will end up producing the highest EROI of the non-fossil fuel alternatives ... and we are going to need all the EROI we can get!

KLR said...

Wondered what Dave was up to - his stuff is no longer featured at the ASPO-USA site. Can't imagine him crossing swords with anyone. In June '08 his one word reply in Drumbeat to anything Jeff Brown had to say was "bullshit." ;) Jeez, Dave. Kumbaya.

I assume you've seen the viral chart of the Growth of Walmart, depicted in appropriate sickly green.

Stuart Staniford said...

KLR - yes, I linked to a Walmart growth video a while back. Yeah, Dave uses a lot more snark than is really to my taste, but on the other hand he also works really hard on the research and sometimes finds some good stuff, so I find him worthy of a spot in my reader.