Political Animal


October 20, 2012 9:24 AM What’s Wrong with the Northeast’s Economy?

By Ryan Cooper

David Dayen provides the following chart of unemployment in the Northeast region:

As he says, this is is something of a mystery:

I haven’t seen a legitimate explanation for this, and considering the impact on the economy as a whole, it would be good to see some resources devoted to it. I mean, there does happen to be more than one large daily newspaper with lots of resources with offices in the Northeast, right? As well as a number of members of the financial press? Maybe if they got off Wall Street and looked at the rest of the region, they would have something interesting to report.

This is especially true given that the Northeast Corridor alone is responsible for something like 20 percent of economic output. Anyone read some good reporting on this?


Ryan Cooper is a National Correspondent at The Week, and a former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @ryanlcooper


  • c u n d gulag on October 20, 2012 9:43 AM:

    I can't cite any particular aricles or evidence, so I''ll tell you what my observations are.
    The NE and the Mid West were (and still are) the bastions of union labor.

    Since the late 60's (hint - Nixon) textile and machining and other traditionally union workers had their companies sold or moved out from under them to the South - and the "Right to work" (aka: union free) states.

    And that was a temporary stop for those companies, which quickly saw even greater profits by moving those jobs overseas.

    So, what's matter with the NE? And the Mid West?
    The Southern non-union environment, and the willingness of companies to off-shore labor for greater profits.

    In other words:

  • c u n d gulag on October 20, 2012 9:49 AM:

    Note to the same WaMo IT geniuses (who can't seem to get rid of CRAPTCHA - maybe it's me and m/or my laptop, but there's a formatting error in the "Post a Comment" section, where the comment box is open-ended, as opposed to its usual closed-off rectangle. First, on the right, and then, as you type, to the left.

    I don't know if anyone else is experiencing this, but I figured I'd tell you.

  • Matt McIrvin on October 20, 2012 10:17 AM:

    You can look at the data by state in Google Public Data:


    I was surprised by this chart because I wasn't aware of the job market getting worse in the Boston area. And, in fact, you don't see the uptick in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, though you do to a small degree in Maine, NH and Vermont. It seems to be strongest for greater NYC and the Mid-Atlantic region, and it's visible to a smaller extent in the coastal South.

    I'd say that whatever it is, it's mostly a New York area/Mid-Atlantic phenomenon.

  • Matt McIrvin on October 20, 2012 10:22 AM:

    Aargh, sorry for throwing off the formatting.

    Anyway, whatever this is, it's some kind of recent short-term phenomenon, so I don't think that long-term structural explanations will work.

  • c u n d gulag on October 20, 2012 10:49 AM:

    I'm sorry for my intemperate and insulting comment above.

    Some mornings, I wake up an @$$hole.
    My apologies.

    And, after all - "Poop happens!"

  • truthbetold on October 20, 2012 10:54 AM:

    Try Bloomberg news, opinion section. Report cites NY and NJ pulling down the average in the northeast, cuts in government spending. There are more possible causes with states questioning the findings.

  • Opal on October 20, 2012 11:31 AM:

    Financial services industry was decimated in the collapse of 2008. They'll not recover anytime soon. They were primarily in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

  • Matt McIrvin on October 20, 2012 11:33 AM:

    c u n d gulag: No, no, that's unrelated anyway: I threw off the formatting even more from what you were complaining about.

    Looking at the Google data more closely, it definitely looks like New York City is the source of the infection.

  • Matt McIrvin on October 20, 2012 11:37 AM:

    Opal: Yes, but this is something new that just started happening around 2011, with the trouble spreading to other parts of the East Coast in 2012. New York state and NYC budget cuts?

  • schtick on October 20, 2012 12:02 PM:

    I know in my area, upstate NY, that companies that closed shop didn't move out, they just closed the factories and won't be coming back. Three factories tried to stay open beyond what they should have with the thought that they would bounce back because any recession we had never bothered them, maybe because they were recreational, but this time it hit them and they are gone permanently. They are selling the buildings, maybe already have.
    There are a few others similar to that around here. They didn't move, they just closed their doors and they hung on longer than they probably should have. All of them put the blame on Bush, but ended up closing in 2009.
    We are losing diary farms here big time, but that has been going on for a while. The big downside to that is those dang chicken farms run by big business have moved in. The people working them can't speak English or maybe they can and won't, but the smell is just lovely for miles on a hot summer day.

  • Lucy Edwards (bloomingpol) on October 20, 2012 12:50 PM:

    NH is probably a special case, but the takeover of the Teabaglicans of our legislature has left us with job losses over the past year and a half, after having weathered the recession pretty well under a Democratic majority up to Nov. 2010.

  • Mimikatz on October 20, 2012 1:24 PM:

    1. All the CEOs hoarding cash until the demise of Obama. They don't realize that contracting their businesses out of spite hurts their bottom lines as well as everyone else.

    2. The Leon Coopermans not spending money for the same reason (hurt feelings, hate Obama) is tanking the economy.

    3. Too much spending by the GOP backers on the election, with the money used inefficiently to enrich a few consultants and media companies.

  • Jess on October 20, 2012 2:37 PM:

    c u n d gulag:
    I live in Dutchess County as well - new to Nan's district thanks to redistricting; I know you're working to unseat her. I have seen NOTHING from Maloney. Do you think he has a shot?

  • KellyTaylor on October 22, 2012 5:56 AM:

    like Micheal said I am alarmed that you can make $4176 in 4 weeks on the internet. have you seen this site (Click on menu Home more information) http://goo.gl/HrSOj

  • pyewacket on October 22, 2012 9:28 AM:

    Purely anecdotal, but my husband has been unemployed for a year and a half. He's a librarian. though there are private jobs in library work, so much is government-based that a drop in government jobs means a surplus of librarians. I work at a university in public health. The federal grant system and foundation grants make up the backbone of our research work. The foundations lost all their money in the market drop a few years ago and still aren't sending out funds at the same rates they used to, and of course the government grants have dried up. The other big industries here in town? Research hospitals, biotech. No government funds, no research.

    I'm sure the conservatives will be thrilled at the idea of all those useless, government-trough-suckers finally being unemployed as they deserve, though I suspect even the most fervent right-winger will still happily use the chemotherapy, vaccines, and antibiotics developed at the institutions they are currently starving.