Thursday, July 23, 2009

Unemployment statistics from Kentucky

A new Brookings Institution study finds that unemployment in the U.S. is becoming more of a suburban problem than an inner city problem.

From Louisville, Kentucky's Courier Journal, reporter Jere Downs gives us some stats on the poor in his local area.

As the recession drags through a second year, the Brookings report found that poverty is weighing on suburban areas, particularly newer, far-flung settlements. Of the largest 100 U.S. metro areas, Louisville is among 75 where the burden is growing faster outside of cities, according to the nonprofit think-tank based in Washington, D.C., which analyzed the growth of the jobless rate, new unemployment claims and applications for federal food stamp assistance in cities versus suburbs over a one-year span.

Researchers considered Jefferson County the region's primary urban area. They compared its economic status with the surrounding Bullitt, Henry, Meade, Nelson, Oldham, Shelby and Trimble counties in Kentucky and Indiana's Clark, Floyd, Harrison and Washington counties.

In those suburban counties, the number of jobless rose 88 percent, from 14,492 people in May last year to 27,241 two months ago, said Elizabeth Kneebone, a co-author of the report entitled "The Crabgrass Recession. Suburbs Feeling More Pain than Past Downturn."

In contrast, Jefferson County's jobless rose 72 percent, to 37,193 from 21,580, in the same time period, she said.

From May 2008 to May 2009, Jefferson County's jobless rate rose 4.3 percentage points, to 10.3 percent from 6 percent, of those available to work, the report found. In surrounding counties, the rate of unemployed rose 4.7 percentage points, to 10 percent from 5.3 percent.

Applications for federal food stamp assistance, however, climbed at a higher rate in Jefferson County than in surrounding areas from January 2008 to January 2009, Kneebone said. Within Jefferson County, those receiving food stamps rose 10.6 percent, to 101,510 recipients from 91,755. In the surrounding counties, those on food stamp aid rose only 7.7 percent, to 49,109 from 45,591.

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