A report out today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Georgia with the highest unemployment rate in the country. I scrolled back to 1976 and I couldn’t find a single month in which Georgia had this dubious distinction. This is bad news in general, but it is especially bad news if you’ve based your entire reelection campaign around your achievements in creating jobs. This is the campaign splash page for Nathan Deal:
Well, the results are in, and it doesn’t look like jobs or growth. It is likely that the Deal campaign will quibble with the data and point out that the numbers aren’t uniformly bad. For instance, employment in Hall County is very good, and job retention among the immediate Deal friends and family is at an all-time high.
But unemployment numbers aren’t just bad for the unemployed. They are bad for everybody. High unemployment has social costs, but among the economic costs are higher governmental costs in unemployment benefits, subsidized food and housing programs, and Medicaid. Secondary costs are higher crime, lower tax receipts (thus cutting programs or raising taxes to compensate), and downward pressure on wages (though this is considered a benefit in attracting businesses to the state).
Map of the US by state unemployment rate after the jump: