Watching unemployment move across the map

The World

The U.S. Labor Department will release current employment numbers later this morning. Slate associate Editor Chris Wilson has put together an interactive map that shows the nation’s transformation over the past two years, as big job gains turned into painful job losses. We take a look at two intriguing areas of the country: the first is South Florida, where Ned Murray, associate director of the Florida International University Metropolitan Center, blames the housing bubble’s burst, amongst other things, for the ballooning unemployment over the past two years there. The other area we will focus on is Riley County, Kansas, where they’ve actually seen job gains, unlike most of the rest of the country. In January of 2007 they had seen 807 more jobs than the year before; and in October of 2009, they saw 10,927 jobs gained. Michael Kearns, Riley County commissioner, attributes the growth of Fort Riley as a key factor in Riley’s success.

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