Mapping the Great Recession

A look at where jobs are coming and going in the country.

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Slate has published an updated version of its jobs map, and it’s fascinating viewing.

The map – first published in the spring of 2009 and last updated about a year ago – tracks job losses and gains month by month and county by county from January 2007 through August 2010. Job losses are shown as red circles and job gains as blue circles. The bigger the circle, the greater the number of jobs gained or lost.

Watching the map in motion is kind of like watching a horror movie – “The Recession That Ate America,” maybe. Big blobs of red start appearing in the spring and summer of 2008, mostly concentrated in the Midwest, Florida and Southern California. By October 2009 the red blobs have devoured most of the West Coast, the Midwest, the Northeast and the Southeast.

But then the red blobs start slowly shrinking and areas of blue begin to reappear. The map for August has a scattering of blue and red, with red still dominating in the Bay Area, parts of the Northeast and Florida.

From a regional standpoint, the good news is that the Pacific Northwest has mostly gone blue again. All but four Oregon counties – Deschutes, Crook, Lincoln and Curry – have blue circles, although in some places the circles aren’t very big.

But the four red circles aren’t very big either: Deschutes County is down 178 jobs from a year ago, and Crook is down 156. Jefferson County actually managed to gain 179 jobs over the year.


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