Job growth: good news and bad news for the South

Posted by R. Neal

A new FDIC Regional Profile (PDF format) report for the second quarter of 2005 provides a snapshot of U.S. economic conditions by region. The effects of Katrina are not reflected in the report, and the FDIC says:

"Although the full effects will not be known for some time, it is clear the scope of the devastation is unprecedented for the local economies, and is projected to slow U.S. economic activity in the third and fourth quarters."

All bets are off in the affected areas for the near term and it's unclear how the reconstruction will unfold over time, but for the first half of 2005 there were mixed economic results around the South, with good news for some and not so much for others.

According to the FDIC's report:

On a regional basis, the nation's strongest labor, credit and residential real estate conditions remain concentrated in the West and areas of the South (Florida, Virginia) and Northeast. Economic activity in these regions stands in sharp contrast to conditions in much of the Midwest, which continues to lag
the rest of the nation.

While the report paints a rosy picture for Florida and Virginia, other states didn't fare so well. South Carolina ranked next to last in job growth, and Tennessee came in at number one for personal bankruptcies per capita.

Following are some other highlights from around the South:

  • Job growth: Florida ranks 6th in the nation for job growth, while Tennessee ranks 43rd, Georgia 47th, Louisiana 48th, and South Carolina 50th.
  • Unemployment: Virginia has the 47th lowest rate of unemployment in the nation, followed by Florida at 38th, and Alabama at 36th. Tennessee ranks at 8th highest, and Mississippi has the second highest unemployment in the nation at 7%.
  • Personal bankruptcies: South Carolina has the 48th lowest rate of personal bankruptcy in the nation, followed by North Carolina at 37th. The South is well represented in the top ten states with the highest rate of personal bankruptcy, with Georgia ranked 9th, Alabama 5th, Arkansas 4th, and Tennessee topping the list at number one.

    Detailed state-by-state results are available here.