Does High Unemployment In Blue States Give Republicans An Advantage In 2022?

Does High Unemployment In Blue States Give Republicans An Advantage In 2022?

We look at unemployment and workforce shrinkage in blue and red states.

tippinsights Editorial Board

As Republicans aim to take back the House and the Senate in 2022, the unemployment situation is one factor that could help them in their takeover.

tippinsights analysis shows that the overall unemployment rate in states led by Republican governors is 1.37 points lower than the overall unemployment rate in states led by Democratic governors.  We also show that shrinkage in the civilian workforce is much lower in Republican areas than in Democratic areas.

While the overall unemployment rate in the United States was 5.53 percent in August, the overall unemployment rate in Republican-controlled states was 4.79 percent, compared to 6.16 percent in Democratic-controlled states.

BLS Data on Unemployment in the United States

D.C. is included in our analysis.  Democratic governors govern 24 of the 51 states, while Republican governors govern 27.

One method for calculating an average unemployment rate is to take a numerical average of the unemployment rates in each state.  However, this approach does not take into account the size of the workforce in different states.  California, for example, has a much larger workforce than Vermont.  The outcomes and interpretations may be untrustworthy and unpredictable.

To calculate the overall Republican unemployment rate, we divide the total unemployed persons living in the 27 Republican states by the total civilian workforce.

The table below compares unemployment changes between August 2021 and March 2020, before the outbreak.

States governed by Democrats, Hawaii, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, California, have 7-plus unemployment and three points higher than their pre-pandemic levels.

Few states such as Nebraska, West Virginia, and Montana are doing better than their pre-pandemic levels.

Table Unemployment Changes Pre-Post Pandemic
Table sorted high to low 

Workforce Shrinkage

The workforce has shrunk by 1.4 million people, or 0.85 percent, since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. There are a variety of reasons for the workforce contraction.  Retirement, deciding to further one's education, caring for the elderly, disability, and relocation are common reasons. We use March 2020 data as our baseline for analysis.

In August, the workforce shrinkage was 1.46% in Democratic states, 1.33 points more than in Republican states.

Shrinkage of Civilian Workforce pre-pandemic to current
Workforce Shrinkage Table in the United States

American families are facing high inflation for necessities such as energy and food. According to the New York Post, an average American household pays $175 more per month due to inflation.  In the latest IBD/TIPP Poll, 81 percent of Americans are concerned about inflation.

In the latest jobs report released yesterday, the U.S. economy created jobs at a much slower-than-expected rate in September, not a bright sign for the economy's health.  The economy added 194,000 jobs in September, compared with the Dow Jones estimate for 500,000.

"All politics is local," as the saying goes.  The local situation will undoubtedly influence the midterm elections.  Republicans have an advantage in terms of jobs, at least for the time being.


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TIPP Takes


The U.S. Treasury Department has delisted Iran-based entities sanctioned by the Trump administration for alleged involvement in Iran's ballistic missile program.

The department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) determined Mammut Industrial Group and its subsidiary, Mammut Diesel, are no longer blocked under Executive Order 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters. The two entities were removed from OFAC's list of Specially Designated Nationals.

In recent weeks, Iranian officials have signaled they are ready to resume negotiations but have yet to set a date for a seventh-round of talks.

The Biden administration is still calling for Iran to resume compliance under the nuclear accord but warns that the window is fast closing.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan recently told his Israeli counterpart that "if diplomacy fails, the U.S. is prepared to turn to other options."

U.S., Pakistani officials hold talks over Afghanistan

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi 

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has met Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad to discuss bilateral ties, regional peace and the way forward in Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

The Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement said there was a "fundamental convergence between Pakistan and the United States on the need for a peaceful settlement" in Afghanistan.

Sherman, who arrived on Thursday for a two-day visit, also held meetings with Pakistan's army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, considered the leading architect of Pakistan's Afghan strategy.

In a brief statement, the U.S. State Department said: "Deputy Secretary Sherman emphasized the importance of a coordinated approach to Afghanistan and other issues vital to regional stability."

Pakistan walks a fine line as it seeks to establish a relationship with the U.S. in a changing region, where Russia and China have increasing influence.

Japan PM Kishida, India's Modi Agree To Work Toward Free, Open Indo-Pacific

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi And Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke by phone with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Friday.

The leaders affirmed cooperation with the other members of the "Quad," Australia and the United States, the ministry said, and voiced "strong opposition to any economic coercion and any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force" in a veiled reference to China's growing maritime assertiveness.

In their first phone talks since Kishida took office earlier this week, the two leaders agreed to cooperate on various fronts, including personnel exchanges and national security, as the countries prepare to mark 70 years of diplomatic ties next year.

They also agreed to "elevate Japan and India's special strategic and global partnership to a new level" and plan for the Japanese leader to visit India "at an appropriate time."

Mars's Barren Jezero Crater Had A Wet And Dramatic Past


The Jezero crater on Mars is an arid, barren depression. But it was a very different place billions of years ago, images taken by NASA's Perseverance rover have revealed.

The geological history of the Jezero crater could help scientists understand how the Red Planet changed from being wet and possibly habitable into a harsh desert world.

It also provides a compelling target to search for traces of life, says Benjamin Weiss, a planetary scientist at MIT. "Definitely, we hit the jackpot here," says Weiss, whose team reported the findings on October 7 in Science.

The surface of Mars was once dotted with massive crater lakes. The 28-mile Jezero crater held one such lake around 3.7 billion years ago. Scientists have previously detected fan-shaped structures along the edges that resemble deltas on Earth, suggesting that ancient rivers carried water, sand, and mud into the crater.


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