States Running Out Of Blue-Collar Jobs

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5. Michigan
> Median Income: $48,700 (24th highest)
> Change in Median Income: +12.2% (the smallest increase)
> Unemployment: 10.3% (7th highest)
> GDP (millions): $344.8 billion (12th highest)
> Change in blue-collar workforce: -6.8%

Michigan was one of the states hit hardest by the recession, with overall unemployment reaching 14.1% in August 2009. In some areas, such as Flint, unemployment climbed above 25%. This high rate of joblessness can be devastating to a manufacturing state like Michigan. Throughout the last decade, the state lost a total of just under 623,000 blue-collar jobs. Combining white-collar and blue-collar jobs, the state lost a total 831,000 jobs. Michigan’s unemployment rate is still significantly higher than the national average.

4. Arkansas
> Median Income: $38,542 (2nd lowest)
> Change in Median Income:  +16.1% (the third smallest increase)
> Unemployment: 7.8% (21st lowest)
> GDP (millions): $91.8 billion (17th lowest)
> Change in blue-collar workforce: -7.18%

Between 2000 and 2010, Arkansas was one the states that fared best in terms of unemployment, and the state experienced a slight growth in jobs over that time. However, the number of blue-collar jobs in the state dropped by more than 50,000. The biggest decreases came in manufacturing, in which more than 60,000 positions disappeared over the course of the decade.

3. Vermont
> Median Income: $51,284 (22nd highest)
> Change in Median Income: +26.6% (18th largest)
> Unemployment: 5.4% (6th lowest)
> GDP (millions): $23.1 billion (the lowest)
> Change in blue-collar workforce: -7.23%

Vermont lost a little more than 17,000 blue-collar jobs during the 2000s but added almost 6,500 white-collar jobs. Over two thirds of the blue-collar jobs that were lost were production jobs. Relative to many other states, however, Vermont has recovered greatly from the recession. Unemployment peaked at 7.3% in the state, but has since fallen to 5.4%, which is 3.7 percentage points lower than the national average. This recovery has been largely driven by tourism.

2. Utah
> Median Income: $55,642 (15th highest)
> Change in Median Income: +22.2% (34th largest)
> Unemployment: 7.3% (14th lowest)
> GDP (millions): $102.8 billion (18th lowest)
> Change in blue-collar workforce: -7.27%

Utah had net job growth of more than 110,000 positions between 2000 and 2010. However, all but 15,000 of these were white-collar. The state lost nearly 17,000 factory jobs during that time. According to the Utah paper The Desert News, the state is beginning to show recovery in retail and manufacturing jobs, two of the hardest hit sectors.

1. New Hampshire
> Median Income: $63,033 (7th highest)
> Change in Median Income: +23.7% (22nd smallest)
> Unemployment: 4.8% (3rd lowest)
> GDP (millions): $54.6 billion (10th lowest)
> Change in blue-collar workforce: -7.92%

Between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of New Hampshire’s workforce made up of blue-collar workers decreased by almost 8%. Thirty thousand blue-collar jobs were lost, the vast majority of which were production jobs, including factory jobs. The state also has the lowest percentage of residents living below the poverty level. New Hampshire has made a strong recovery post-recession. The unemployment rate is currently at 4.8% — the third lowest in the country. And according to a recent article in Foster’s Daily Democrat, New Hampshire’s manufacturing industry has also made a strong comeback.