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NewsFlash: January 31, 2008

Economy not super in Tuesday vote states

On February 5, millions of American voters in 24 states coast-to-coast will help choose their Party’s presidential candidate under the cloud of a recession that many believe has already started. If, as the axiom goes, “all politics is local,” the local economic context in the 24 Super Tuesday states offers important insights into voters’ economic worries, hopes, and priorities.

A new Economic Policy Institute Issue Brief published today, Not-So-Super Tuesday for State Labor Markets, opens a window on key state economic forces on voters’ minds as they make their choices. Authors Liana Fox and Michael Ettlinger review the trends in unemployment and jobs, wages and income, health and pension coverage, and poverty in all 24 states.

Their analysis finds:

  • Unemployment rose in 20 of the Super Tuesday states between June and December, 2007.
  • Median hourly real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) wages fell in 15 states from 2005 to 2006 and rose 0.2% or less in two others. Over the same period median household income declined or rose less than the national overall rate (1.5%) in 14 states.
  • Employer-provided health insurance coverage declined in 18 states, leaving a growing share of the population uninsured in 19 states.
  • In 22 of the 24 states, private-sector employer-provided pension coverage declined.
  • While poverty declined by 0.3% in the nation as a whole from 2005 to 2006, the share of residents in poverty rose in 8 of the Super Tuesday states, with the largest rises in Arkansas (3.9%), New Jersey (2.0%) and Massachusetts (1.8%).

Read the Issue Brief

View a list of experts on the states’ economies


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