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JBreeze
09-29-2009, 08:03 PM
Rummaging around the Bureau of labor Statistics website, I came across a series of data from 1976-2008 that shows population by state, (along with two urban areas at the end of the data), the percentage of the population in the civilian labor force, employed and unemployed, etc.

One striking feature is the percentage of the uninstitutionalized population in the civilian labor force, vs total population.

As an example, West Virginnia seems to have averaged about 55% of its population in the civilian workforce, while Wisconsin averaged about 70% of its population in the civilian work workforce.

I can understand differences between employed vs. unemployed by state, but why is their such a difference between the percentage in the civilian workforce by state? I would expect FL and AZ to have a lower rate because of retirees, but many of the other states have sustained, substantial differences over the whole 1976-2008 period.

Any ideas?

http://www.bls.gov/lau/staadata.txt

Another example: Mississippi about 60% vs Missouri 68%

Soundbounder
09-29-2009, 08:25 PM
Have you ever been to a dead end town??? The factories closed years ago and they never recovered????
In Rhode Island, think of those old mill towns that have been down for 40+ years. What do you see there? Old people who never left and young mothers with a bunch of kids. There is not a lot in between. Anybody looking for work left years ago. Now multiply that one small former RI mill town by 50 and that describes West Virginia. WV has no Providence or Newport etc to offset all those depressed abandoned towns.

We tend to assume that poverty, joblessness, decay, abandonment, etc is an urban problem but there are small towns across America that have bigger problems than many cities. Many states have areas just as bad or worse than WV, but they also have prosperous regions to offset the numbers.

JBreeze
09-29-2009, 08:39 PM
Have you ever been to a dead end town??? The factories closed years ago and they never recovered????....


Sure, I grew up in one....in the Bermuda triangle of Massachusetts (Taunton-Fall River-New Bedford).:D

What caught my attention in those stats were the way the relative trends were sustained in the '76-'08 period....the high rates of participation in the workforce on a long-term basis in places like the Dakotas suprised me.

Keith Wilson
09-29-2009, 08:40 PM
Hmm . . . that looks kind of odd to me too. Here's the definition of terms from the FAQs: (http://www.bls.gov/lau/laufaq.htm#Q3)
How are the labor force components (i.e., civilian labor force, employed, unemployed, and unemployment rate) defined?

The official concepts and definitions, as used in the Current Population Survey, follow. For a complete description, see Definitions of Labor Force Concepts (PDF 102K).

Civilian labor force. Included are all persons in the civilian noninstitutional population classified as either employed or unemployed. (See the definitions below).

Employed persons. These are all persons who, during the reference week (the week including the 12th day of the month), (a) did any work as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of their family, or (b) were not working but who had jobs from which they were temporarily absent because of vacation, illness, bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, labor-management dispute job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs. Each employed person is counted only once, even if he or she holds more than one job.

Unemployed persons. Included are all persons who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment some time during the 4 week-period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.

Unemployment rate. The ratio of unemployed to the civilian labor force expressed as a percent [i.e., 100 times (unemployed/labor force)].What they don't define is "civilian noninstitutional population." For example, Minnesota's population is about 5.3 million. The figure they use for "civilian noninstitutional population." is about 4 million, about 3 million of which are in the labor force. So who are the other 1.3 million? I know we don't have that many people in institutions or the military, unless perhaps it includes kids in school. There were 822,000 kids in K-12 education in MN in '08. So maybe the total population, minus small children, students, and retirees?

One difference might be the percentage of women in the workforce, rather than housewives.

The high rate in the Dakotas doesn't surprise me at all. Those folks define "work ethic".

2MeterTroll
09-29-2009, 08:49 PM
another would be those that are not on the unemployment rolls due to ending the benifit cycle.

JBreeze
09-29-2009, 08:59 PM
Good point Keith....I was thinking of you when I looked at some of the Northern states - Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc. quite a contrast to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, etc.

I thought about the expiration of unemployment benefits, but the long period of '76-08 should smooth that out.

Not trying to troll for controversy or politics here ....just a little suprised at the differences between states....for instance, Nebraska has a relatively high sustained rate. Maine seems to have been able to shake off the declines in its mills and paper industry.

Maybe 32 years isn't enough time for major changes.

Milo Christensen
09-29-2009, 09:23 PM
The old saying about discrimination still affects the south: In order to keep a man in a ditch, you have to get in the ditch with him.

Bruce Hooke
09-29-2009, 10:19 PM
Hmm . . . that looks kind of odd to me too. Here's the definition of terms from the FAQs: (http://www.bls.gov/lau/laufaq.htm#Q3)What they don't define is "civilian noninstitutional population." For example, Minnesota's population is about 5.3 million. The figure they use for "civilian noninstitutional population." is about 4 million, about 3 million of which are in the labor force. So who are the other 1.3 million? I know we don't have that many people in institutions or the military, unless perhaps it includes kids in school. There were 822,000 kids in K-12 education in MN in '08. So maybe the total population, minus small children, students, and retirees?

If there are 822,000 kids in K-12 it seems to me that it would work out that most of the "missing" 1.3 million in Minnesota are children/teenagers, since the K-12 count does not include all the pre-Ks. So I don't think the "civilian noninstitutional population" needs to exclude retirees. That would in turn explain an important part of why there are so many people who are not in the work force overall, and may well also be a contributing factor to the differences between the states (Florida and Arizona, while not at the very low end are definitely below average when it comes to percentage in the workforce).

Since the measure they are using of unemployed is the standard definition that excludes the long-term unemployed that is presumably a bunch of the people who are not in the workforce. Even when the economy is doing quite well there are still people who for various reasons cannot hold down a job, and it is likely that some states would have more chronic problems in that area than others. Then there are the non-working spouses of someone who is in the workforce. It seems likely that some disparity amongst the states regarding the number of households where one spouse works and one does not.

It is worth noting that with the exception of a few outliers, most states fall in the range of about 62 to 72, which is not that wide a spread.

Keith Wilson
09-29-2009, 10:48 PM
Yes, I think you're right. Here are the '06-'07 numbers for Minnesota. (http://www.statehealthfacts.org/profileind.jsp?ind=2&cat=1&rgn=25) Total population about 5.2 million, 1.3 million under 18. So the "civilian noninstitutional population" includes retired people. But I don't think the difference in the that number accounts for all the differences between states. I'd bet a combination of the number of retirees, number of non-working spouses, and number of people who are long-term unemployed for other reasons is enough to account for most of it. As you said, the spread isn't that wide.

The trends over time are interesting too; that varies quite a lot between states.

Wayne Jeffers
09-30-2009, 04:52 AM
Have you ever been to a dead end town??? The factories closed years ago and they never recovered????
In Rhode Island, think of those old mill towns that have been down for 40+ years. What do you see there? Old people who never left and young mothers with a bunch of kids. There is not a lot in between. Anybody looking for work left years ago. Now multiply that one small former RI mill town by 50 and that describes West Virginia. WV has no Providence or Newport etc to offset all those depressed abandoned towns.

We tend to assume that poverty, joblessness, decay, abandonment, etc is an urban problem but there are small towns across America that have bigger problems than many cities. Many states have areas just as bad or worse than WV, but they also have prosperous regions to offset the numbers.

West Virginia does have prosperous areas, Huntington, Charleston, Morgantown the most prominent, though none of these are the size of Providence or Newport.

It is true that many folks left to find work elsewhere. As an indicator: In the 1940ís, WV had 8 seats in Congress. They lost one each census cycle until now they have only 3 seats. Coal mining was once very labor intensive, so there were a lot of jobs, though not well-paying. Now mining is highly automated and the number employed there is small, though well-paid. I believe Walmart is now the biggest employer in the state. Tourism accounts for a lot of employment.

WV has a very old population, one of the oldest median ages among the states. Aside from the aging native population, it is a surprisingly popular retirement destination.

Much of WV is very sparsely populated. We have a second home in the high mountains there, in a county the size of RI that has a population of about 9000. (Admittedly, an extreme example.)

Wayne

Soundbounder
09-30-2009, 06:17 AM
Wayne,
Thanks. Yeah I am definitely oversimplifying it. There are certainly prosperous areas in WV.

In these type of discussions, an area I always think of is the Fort Ann, Fort Edward, Hoosick Falls towns in upstate New York. General Electric and others used to be in some of those towns.
They left behind PCBs, decaying factories, and contaminated water. The highway department and the quickie mart seem to be the only prosperous enterprises in town. Driving through there, I almost always see a pregnant teen pushing a stroller, and a lot of old people looking out their windows. It is a very depressing area.

If that region were a state unto itself, I bet it would have very bizarre stats.

Soundbounder
09-30-2009, 06:50 AM
Sure, I grew up in one....in the Bermuda triangle of Massachusetts (Taunton-Fall River-New Bedford).:D

What caught my attention in those stats were the way the relative trends were sustained in the '76-'08 period....the high rates of participation in the workforce on a long-term basis in places like the Dakotas suprised me.
I don't know much about the Dakotas, but I can almost guarantee there is something beyond "work ethic" at play here.

Some things to consider:
How are family farms counted? Are the wife and kids counted as part of the workforce?

What about military bases? A small state with large bases can skew the numbers if everyone stationed there is considered a workforce resident of the state.

How are residents of Indian reservations counted?

Don't a lot of the large banks have their credit card operations in South Dakota to take advantage of the lax regulations there?
Just like with a military base, if you add several thousand employed people to the stats of a small state, it will change the numbers significantly.

The Dakotas have probably benefited from not having large industries that packed up and left. When that happens, a portion of the workforce tends to leave for greener pastures, while the ederly, handicapped, welfare dependent, etc don't leave.

I am just brainstorming here. I am not saying these are the reasons, but something is at work here besides a strong work ethic.

Keith Wilson
09-30-2009, 08:54 AM
How are family farms counted? Are the wife and kids counted as part of the workforce?Yes, although I don't think kids under 18 are counted at all.
What about military bases? A small state with large bases can skew the numbers if everyone stationed there is considered a workforce resident of the state.Non-civilian. Military personnel have no effect on the stats one way or another.

How are residents of Indian reservations counted?As far as I can tell, the same as everybody else, but it's not clear.

You're probably right that the fact that neither Dakota ever had much industry to decline or move away contributes. They used to have a lot more farmers, but he farming population has been declining everywhere for 100 years, so nothing unusual there.

OTOH, if you look at the entire region, the Dakotas are not exceptional:
ND - 74%
SD - 73%
MN - 73%
IA - 72%
WI - 70%

Bruce Hooke
09-30-2009, 09:01 AM
Does the Upper Midwest loose more people to warmer climates when they retire?

Edited to add...see my next post. The answer is clearly no!

Bruce Hooke
09-30-2009, 09:19 AM
Here is the data on over 65s by state, sorted by the percentage of the population that is over 65:
Source: http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/c2kbr01-12.pdf

.......................Total.............# Over 65 ..% Over 65
Alaska............ 626,932 ........ 35,699... 5.7
Utah ........... 2,233,169....... 190,222 .. 8.5
Georgia....... 8,186,453 .... . 785,275 ...9.6
Colorado .... 4,301,261 ......416,073 ....9.7
Texas ........20,851,820 ..2,072,532 .... 9.9
California ..33,871,648 ..3,595,658 ... 10.6
Nevada ...... 1,998,257 .....218,929 ... 11.0
Virginia....... 7,078,515 .... 792,333.... 11.2
Washington 5,894,121 ... 662,148.... 11.2
Idaho ......... 1,293,953..... 145,916.... 11.3
Maryland ... 5,296,486 .... 599,307.... 11.3
Louisiana .. 4,468,976 .....516,929 ... 11.6
NewMexico 1,819,046 ....212,225 ....11.7
Wyoming ...... 493,782 ..... 57,693 ....11.7
NewHampshire . 1,235,786 147,970. 12.0
NorthCarolina. 8,049,313 .. 969,048 ..12.0
Illinois .......12,419,293 ... 1,500,025... 12.1
Minnesota .. 4,919,479..... 594,266.... 12.1
Mississippi . 2,844,658 .... 343,523 ....12.1
SouthCarolina 4,012,012 .. 485,333... 12.1
DC................. 572,059......... 69,898 .. 12.2
Michigan..... 9,938,444..... 1,219,018.. 12.3
Indiana........ 6,080,485 ....... 752,831.. 12.4
Tennessee.. 5,689,283 ...... 703,311 ...12.4
Kentucky .... 4,041,769 ......504,793 ... 12.5
Vermont .........608,827...... ..77,510 .....12.7
Oregon .......3,421,399 ....... 438,177 ... 12.8
NewYork ...18,976,457 ..... 2,448,352 . 12.9
Alabama .... 4,447,100....... 579,798 .... 13.0
Arizona ......5,130,632 ....... 667,839.... 13.0
Delaware ......783,600....... 101,726 .... 13.0
Wisconsin ...5,363,675 .... 702,553 .....13.1
NewJersey..8,414,350 ....1,113,136.... 13.2
Oklahoma .. 3,450,654 ......455,950.... 13.2
Hawaii ........1,211,537....... 160,601.... 13.3
Kansas...... 2,688,418 ...... 356,229 ... 13.3
Ohio ........ 11,353,140 .....1,507,757 .. 13.3
Montana ....... 902,195 ...... 120,949 ....13.4
Massachusetts .6,349,097.. 860,162.. 13.5
Missouri ......5,595,211 ...... 755,379... 13.5
Nebraska ...1,711,263.........232,195.. .13.6
Connecticut ... 3,405,565 ...470,183 ....13.8
Arkansas.... 2,673,400 ....... 374,019 .. 14.0
South Dakota . 754,844....... 108,131... 14.3
Maine .........1,274,923 ........183,402 ....14.4
Rhode Island .1,048,319 ..... 152,402 .. 14.5
North Dakota... 642,200........ 94,478... 14.7
Iowa ............. 2,926,324 ...... 436,213 .. 14.9
West Virginia . 1,808,344....... 276,895 .. 15.3
Pennsylvania. 12,281,054.... 1,919,165. . 15.6
Florida ...........15,982,378..... 2,807,597.. 17.6

Seems pretty clear that while the high number of retirees could influence West Virginia's low numbers in the workforce, if anything it makes the high number of people in the workforce in North Dakota even more of an anomaly and in general the number of over 65s does not explain the Upper Midwest's high workforce numbers.

It does seem like it might be that farmers are less likely to officially retire and leave the workforce, which could drive up the workforce numbers in states with large numbers of farmers.

Keith Wilson
09-30-2009, 09:26 AM
Does the Upper Midwest loose more people to warmer climates when they retire? Some, perhaps, but not that many. That doesn't seem to be the major factor. Over 65, pecentage of population:

ND - 14.7%
SD - 14.3%
MN - 12.1%
WI - 13.1%
IA - 14.9%

and WV, 15.3%

Soundbounder
09-30-2009, 09:37 AM
Now I need to figure out if there is a difference among states in regards to residents 65 and over who are still working.:confused:

Bruce Hooke
09-30-2009, 09:40 AM
Now I need to figure out if there is a difference among states in regards to residents 65 and over who are still working.:confused:

Yes, it would be useful to have those numbers. All I could find was the number of people over 65.

Bruce Hooke
09-30-2009, 09:41 AM
Some, perhaps, but not that many. That doesn't seem to be the major factor. Over 65, pecentage of population:

ND - 14.7%
SD - 14.3%
MN - 12.1%
WI - 13.1%
IA - 14.9%

and WV, 15.3%

Yes...see my previous post...

Keith Wilson
09-30-2009, 09:47 AM
Now I need to figure out if there is a difference among states in regards to residents 65 and over who are still working.Hmm . I don't know where you'd find that. Maybe you could use longevity as a proxy? The upper Midwest comes out very well in that respect. Source. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_life_expectancy)

#2 - MN - 80.3 years
#4 - ND - 79.8
#12 - IA - 79.3
#17 - WI - 79.0
#20 - SD - 78.6

The states that have low working percentages also tend to have lower life expectancies. WV is #46 at 75.3 years.

Wayne Jeffers
09-30-2009, 09:56 AM
Now I need to figure out if there is a difference among states in regards to residents 65 and over who are still working.:confused:

To throw another monkey wrench into the works . . .

A good number of people retire before age 65.

My father had a fatal heart attack at age 57. It runs in the family. I decided a long time ago that I did not want to wait until 65. My last wife had a fatal heart attack at age 47. This only reinforced my resolve. I retired 5 years ago. Iím still not 65.

Wayne

Keith Wilson
09-30-2009, 10:04 AM
Right; the useful number might be the average age at which people retire, sorted by state - and I have no clue if that data is even collected anywhere.

Soundbounder
09-30-2009, 10:07 AM
It does seem like it might be that farmers are less likely to officially retire and leave the workforce, which could drive up the workforce numbers in states with large numbers of farmers. Excellent point.
In my experiences, the self employed tend to not officially retire.
They may not be working 50-70 hours a week anymore, but they still have their hand in it.

Soundbounder
09-30-2009, 10:10 AM
To throw another monkey wrench into the works . . .

A good number of people retire before age 65.

My father had a fatal heart attack at age 57. It runs in the family. I decided a long time ago that I did not want to wait until 65. My last wife had a fatal heart attack at age 47. This only reinforced my resolve. I retired 5 years ago. I’m still not 65.

WayneYears ago I was in the insulators union and it was common to see the same names listed on the retirement page as the obituary page of the quarterly newsletter. Guys would retire and be dead two months later.
I am sorry for your losses.