By Michael Barone, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Great interactive graphic from the New York Times showing December 2008 unemployment by county. Where is it highest? To the best of my mouse's ability to discern, the answer seems to be Imperial County, California (22.6 percent). This is the agricultural Coachella Valley, a majority-Hispanic area. Second highest, according to my mouse, is Baraga County, Michigan (20.6 percent), in the old mining country of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
One thing that's interesting is that next-door counties can have quite different unemployment levels. Wayne County, Michigan (11.7 percent) includes Detroit and only a few upscale suburbs; Oakland County, Michigan (8.6 percent) is more upscale suburban territory, Macomb County, Michigan (10.9 percent) somewhat less upscale, and Washtenaw County, Michigan (6.9 percent) is dominated by the university towns of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Why don't unemployed people in Detroit get jobs in Ann Arbor? Presumably because they don't have the skill levels required.
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By Michael Barone