I stumbled on this neat animation that visualizes changes in unemployment rates across the country during the recession (hat tip: Coordination Problem blog).
As the animation completed, I was struck by how New Hampshire was pretty much alone in the northeast as a lone bright spot (mostly bright red, indicating a 5-6% rate) in a sea of dark red and purple across much of the rest of the country.
Unfortunately, new data released last week show the overall NH rate has increased to 7.0%. That's still well below the US average unemployment rate of 10%, but it moves most of the state from bright red to dark red or even purple in the animation.
One other thing from the animation that struck me was how well the midwestern farm states seem to be faring in this downturn. That shouldn't be surprising, since demand for agricultural products usually holds up better than demand for durable goods in a recession. Still, seeing all that bright yellow spread across the farm-belt really drove it home for me.
I did a bit of googling in search of a midwestern viewpoint (rather than a granite one) and I stumbled on this article by Sharon Schmickle at MinnPost.com. It provides some local color on the employment and economic situation in the farm-belt region.
As an aside, MinnPost.com has an interesting new-media business model. They're a non-profit web-only publication staffed by professional journalists doing feet-on-the-ground reporting: