States Running Out Of Blue-Collar Jobs

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 10. Connecticut
> Median Income: $67,721 (3rd highest)
> Change in Median Income: +25.1% (25th largest)
> Unemployment: 9.1% (19th highest)
> GDP (millions): $211.3 billion (23rd highest)
> Change in blue-collar workforce: -6%

In 2000, Connecticut had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, just 2.1% in October, compared to a national rate of 4%. Since then, unemployment has risen to 9.1%, and roughly 100,000 jobs have been lost. Impressively, in the white-collar sector, Connecticut had a slight net increase in the total workforce during the past decade. More than 90,000 blue-collar jobs were lost in the state during that time. Most of these losses were in factory jobs, including machinists, assembly workers, team assemblers and welders.

9. California
> Median Income: $60,392 (8th highest)
> Change in Median Income: +29.5% (8th largest)
> Unemployment: 11.7% (2nd highest)
> GDP (millions): $1.73 trillion (the highest)
> Change in blue-collar workforce: -6.1%

In September 2010, when the national unemployment rate was 9.6%, California’s was 12.5%. California lost a total of 642,000 jobs between 2000 and 2010, the most of any state. Surprisingly, the state actually added 150,000 white-collar jobs over this period. Just under 800,000 blue-collar jobs, on the other hand, were shed. Over 500,000 of these lost jobs were production occupations, such as factory jobs.

8. Wyoming
> Median Income: $51,990 (20th highest)
> Change in Median Income: +34.6 (2nd largest)
> Unemployment: 6% (7th lowest)
> GDP (millions): $34.4 billion (4th lowest)
> Change in blue-collar workforce: -6.38%

Wyoming’s had a net gain of 37,000 employees between 2000 and 2010, but just 13,000 were blue-collar workers. According to the Wyoming Business Report, the state is experiencing one of the fastest rates of business growth in the country. However, according to the publication, most of these jobs have come from areas like financial services and the energy sector. While in absolute terms the number of blue-collar workers increased, the state still lost nearly 15,000 jobs in installation, maintenance and repair.

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7. Georgia
> Median Income: $49,466 (25th highest)
> Change in Median Income: +19.8% (10th smallest)
> Unemployment: 9.8% (10th highest)
> GDP (millions): $362 billion (11th highest)
> Change in blue-collar workforce: -6.42%

Georgia’s economy was booming in the 1990s. The 2000s were not as kind. While just fewer than 80,000 white-collar jobs were created, the state lost slightly more than 200,000 blue-collar jobs. Over 150,000 of these jobs were in production, including jobs lost due to the closing of a number of automobile plants. The state’s unemployment rate currently remains 0.7 percentage points above the national average.

6. Arizona
> Median Income: $50,296 (23rd highest)
> Change in Median Income: +30.5% (6th largest)
> Unemployment: 9.1% (19th highest)
> GDP (millions): $288.4 billion (20th highest)
> Change in blue-collar workforce: -6.77%

For the first half of the decade, Arizona had one of the fastest-growing business economies in the country. The subprime mortgage crisis hit the state hard, and unemployment skyrocketed in the once-prosperous southwestern state. The state netted a gain of nearly 140,000 white-collar jobs but lost a large number of blue-collar positions. More than 40,000 manufacturing jobs vanished in this time. However, the biggest sector that lost workers was construction, in which nearly 60,000 workers were laid off as a result of the burst of the home-price bubble.