One Year Of Obama and Stimulus: Job Openings down 5.48% , Unemployment Up to 10%

It has been one year since President Obama took office and announced a stimulus bill that was to improve jobs.  The data suggests that the job market continued to deteriorate this past year.  Unemployment is up to 10% from 7.4%.  Job Openings are down 5.48%

Job Openings, as measured on, have not improved from one year ago.  Nationwide, job openings at January 31, 2010 were 5.48% lower than January 29, 2009.  Total job openings stand at 222,189 as compared to 235,059 last year, a decrease of 12,870.  37 States have lower job openings as compared to last year.



Best and Worst States has been tracking Job Openings by State for the past year and has reported on movements.  For some of our previouslinks see November 2009, Job Stimulus Not Working  , Job Openings September 2009 and last year’s Best and Worst States for Job Openings January 2009.  While the drops early in the year have appeared to stabilize, the level of job openings is not robust enough to suggest significant improvements in employment soon.

The Best State for Job Openings is Indiana as measured by growth.  Indiana had the largest gain in job openings, 887, up 17.4% from a year ago. Best States for Jobs also were Kentucky, Ohio and TennesseeFlorida and Ohio were the best large states for job openings.  They were the only 2 states of the Top Ten Employment States to show increases in openings.  13 States had increases in job openings from a year ago.

The Worst State for Jobs was California.  It has 3,667 less job openings from a year ago, a decrease of 14.18%.  California also has the fourth worst employment rate in the nation.  Unemployment in California is now at 12.4%, up 3.7% from a year ago.  California is struggling on many fronts and an increasing jobless population will not help it turn around.  For more on California see California Jobs Shrinking

Additional Worst States for Jobs  are Texas, Illinois,Massachusetts and Arizona.  They each had large job opening losses and double digit declines in percentage terms.

Another measure of job openings, the Conference Board’s Help Wanted On-Line Data Series is also indicating year over year decreases in job openings. The Conference Board Data for 2009 annual average job openings stands at 3,357,000, 1.1million below the 4,481,000 annual average for 2008.  More importantly their average job opening number for 2009 is 2.4 million below the 2007 average job opening number.  These are not good numbers.  On an encouraging note,the Conference Board reported positive improvement in job openings in New York, Washington, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Delaware and New Jersey.

All 50 states saw their unemployment rates increase in 2009.  See Unemployment by State 2009 for the entire 2009 list and unemployment changes from a year ago. Job openings must increase significantly nationwide if unemployment is to improve to acceptable levels. It is going to take some time for this to occur.


Job Openings by State January 2010


Largest State
California Continues to
Show Shrinking Job Openings

Texas Jobs Not Growing

Florida Shows Small Increase

Illinois Jobs Down 10.64%

37 States Have
Fewer Job Openings

2 of 10 Largest States
Show Small Increase

Indiana Best State for Job Opening Growth

Job Openings Do Not Suggest
Employment Improvements

Trustworthy States: Best States to Lose Your Wallet

Gallup recently released a poll on Best States to Lose Your Wallet

With unemployment rising and economic stress increasing, the trust we have in our neighbors and community is of increasing concern. We want to live in a Safe States as they are Best States to Live.  The poll asked people if they believed a lost wallet with $200 in would be returned.  Nationwide 70% of people believe that their wallet would be returned with money still in the wallet.  Large States according to Gallup are generally viewed as less trustworthy.  People in the Southern half of the country do not trust their neighbors as much as people in the North. See Gallup’s map below.

The Best States for Neighbor Trust are:

Top 10 States, Trust in Neighbor

The Worst States for Neighbor Trust are:

Bottom 10 States, Trust in Neighbor

People in the South do not trust their neighbors as much as the North according to Gallup. Chart courtesy of Gallup.

U.S. Map: Trust in Neighbor, by State
When picking your place to live consider your neighbors. Safe States are Best States to Retire and are Top States to Live

Are Pay Equity Studies Equitable? Are State Rankings Meaningful?

Are Pay Equity Studies Equitable?  Are State Rankings meaningful?

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) recently published a state ranking of pay equity for college educated women as compared to men.

The report found that in the United States, the earnings gap between college educated men and women over 25 years of age and who work full-time year round was 71%, meaning these women make 29 cents less on the dollar nationally. They also reported the differences in pay equity by state.

While we do not dispute the numbers as put forth by the study i.e. women typically are paid less than men, we do question the validity of the issue and the reasons typically put forth for its existance.   We believe it presents a one sided argument in favor of legislation supporting the “Paycheck Fairness Act.”  The AAUW supports legislation that would close the gap with legislation.  The study has received significant publicity without some common sense rebuttal.

Why do we question the fairness and validity of this study?

We think many other factors also influence pay.

Should experience matter?  Would it be fair to require people with more experience to be paid the same as those with less experience?

Should training and knowledge matter?  Would it be fair to require pay to be the same for people with less training than others?

We believe training and experience should matter!!

The AAUW study neglects to point out that there are significant differences between men and women in the work place.

The Social Security Administration reports that women typically work 13 years less than men during their lifetimes.  13 years of less work experience for any person is meaningful.  You would expect those with less work experience regardless of sex to be paid less on average.

Women typically also leave the workforce to raise children.  One study has measured the average time women leave the workforce for child rearing at 11.5 years.  Women work less work years.  This typically also leads to less training and development of computer and other specific job skills that are part of the pay criteria.  Much of this is learned on the job.  It is common sense to expect people with less training and less experience to be paid less.

While we highly respect the important contributions that women make to our world, we do not believe the AAUW study should be considered as an important fact to support pay fairness.  Many women as matter of choice, happily leave the workforce.   We hope for the benefit of fairness that this study and the “Pay Fairness Act” do not become accepted wisdom and law.

The chart below is from the Urban Institute  The Urban Institute recognizes and charts the differences in male/female work experience. Men work significantly more years than women.
Cumulative Distribution of Work Years
The “Best and Worst States for Pay Equity” are listed below.  Read them with caution.  Interestingly we could not find any obvious conclusions from the listings.

The “Best State for Pay Equity” is Vermont.  Nearby New Hampshire is one of the “Worst States for Pay Equity.”  Does this suggest that employers in Vermont are more “fair” to women than in New Hampshire?  Why?

Are employers in Wisconsin or Montana fundamentally more “fair” than nearby poorly ranked Iowa?  Are there factors other than male/female pay discrimination that are more influential that create lower average pay for women in Iowa?  For example, do families in Wisconsin have a lower value for child rearing resulting in more work time for women and thus more pay?  We think that would be a meaningless conclusion.

There are many factors that influence differences in pay between the sexes.  We think state by state rankings offer limited insight and create numerous questions for understanding why.

Best States for Pay Equity

1) Vermont 87%
2) Hawaii 83%
3) Delaware 80%
4) New York 78%
5) Montana 77%
6) Wyoming 77%
7) New Mexico 77%
8) Wisconsin 76%
9) Oregon 76%
10) Nevada 75%

Worst States for Pay Equity

42) Utah 69%
43) Michigan 68%
44) Arkansas 68%
45) Iowa 68%
46) New Hampshire 68%
47) Oklahoma 67%
48) Virginia 67%
49) Mississippi 67%
50) West Virginia 67%
51) Louisiana 65

Finally, the AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE, said “Our analysis is quite disturbing, especially when you consider how more and more families are depending on a woman’s paycheck as the primary source of income in these tough economic times. Consequently, the issue of pay equity takes on an added sense of urgency. This is just one of the reasons why we’re urging the Senate to join the House and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act,”

We disagree.

The “Paycheck Fairness Act” would be unfair if it punishes experience and training. Fairness requires that all people regardless of sex should be paid on the basis of experience and training as well.

Best and Worst States for Car Insurance: Does Safety Matter? publishes a monthly listing of car insurance rates.  We thought you might like to see March results.

We also thought it might be interesting to see if safe drivers as measured by the annual GMAC driver safety study had a measurable benefit in insurance rates.

The Best State for Car Insurance is Vermont with an estimated annual premium of $1,304.  It ranks 18 in the GMAC Safe Driver Study.  The 4 other Best States for Car Insurance, i.e. the lowest premiums, are Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin and Idaho.  The safest state of the top 5 according to GMAC is Idaho with a safe driver rank of 4.  The safest driver state, Kansas, ranks 22 in car insurance premiums.

The Worst State for Car Insurance,( we put DC in a world of its own), is Louisiana with a premium of $2617 more than double that of Vermont!!!  It also ranks 44 on the GMAC Safe Driver Study.  New Jersey the Worst State for Safe Driving in the US has one of the highest car insurance rates rate just below Louisiana.  Rounding out the Worst States for Car Insurance are Delaware, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania.  All these state rate below average in the GMAC study.

Of the popular retirement states Tennessee is best rated for low premiums at 11.  Arizona at 25 and Florida at 36 are more middle of the pack

Car Insurance rates have dropped over the last 6 months yet are still higher than a year ago.  From a look of the list it appears that drivers who know the rules of the road benefit from safer roads and lower car insurance premiums.  It may be beneficial for insurance companies to offer discounts to drivers who take a car exam annually that demonstrates they know the rules of the road.

State Premium $$ Change % Change Safe Rank
1 VT $1,304 $47 3.70% 18
2 OH $1,320 $1 0.10% 26
3 IA $1,335 ($32) -2.30% 9
4 WI $1,348 ($28) -2.00% 12
5 ID $1,396 $14 1.00% 4
6 ME $1,406 $59 4.30% 31
7 NH $1,504 ($64) -4.10% 30
8 IN $1,528 $25 1.70% 11
9 SD $1,550 $97 6.70% 6
10 IL $1,559 $19 1.20% 32
11 TN $1,563 $1 0.00% 33
12 MT $1,573 ($39) -2.40% 15
13 NC $1,577 ($42) -2.60% 22
14 OR $1,586 ($23) -1.40% 8
15 AL $1,611 $29 1.80% 15
16 CO $1,611 ($28) -1.70% 15
17 NE $1,625 $91 5.90% 3
18 GA $1,626 ($46) -2.70% 47
19 MO $1,629 $5 0.30% 14
20 SC $1,638 ($24) -1.50% 39
21 VA $1,667 ($78) -4.50% 40
22 KS $1,668 $4 0.30% 1
23 ND $1,722 $58 3.50% 21
24 MN $1,728 $97 5.90% 5
25 AZ $1,739 ($93) -5.10% 36
26 CA $1,813 ($15) -0.80% 33
27 NM $1,845 ($16) -0.90% 22
28 UT $1,864 ($35) -1.90% 13
29 WA $1,882 $34 1.80% 9
30 OK $1,900 $54 2.90% 22
31 TX $1,921 ($55) -2.80% 18
32 AR $1,929 $17 0.90% 6
33 WY $1,934 $16 0.90% 2
34 MS $1,953 $19 1.00% 46
35 KY $1,984 ($52) -2.60% 29
36 FL $2,015 $8 0.40% 28
37 MI $2,076 ($49) -2.30% 18
38 CT $2,095 ($56) -2.60% 33
39 WV $2,095 $76 3.80% 43
40 NV $2,142 ($40) -1.90% 36
41 MD $2,144 ($48) -2.20% 42
42 PA $2,248 $65 3.00% 36
43 RI $2,356 ($32) -1.30% 41
44 DE $2,520 $11 0.40% 26
45 NJ $2,556 $14 0.50% 51
46 LA $2,617 $3 0.10% 44
47 DC $2,862 ($18) -0.60% 50
48 NY n/a 49
49 MA n/a 48
50 HI n/a 45
51 AK n/a 6