I Blame This on the NHL

With all the talk of “Detroit,” you would think that Michigan would have lost the most employees, as a percentage of same, on the year. After all, the scariest graph of the U.S. MSAs isn’t scary for nothing.

But the Regional and State Employment data is out for October (h/t CR), and there’s a different leader.

Apparently, the bursting of the Sunbelt Bubble (building expensive houses in the absence of a water table; what could go wrong?) compares well with destroying unionized automobile production. (Note to Senator Shelby: destroying Detroit didn’t keep your state from being #10 on the list.)

Also note that #4 on the list is my favorite state for bank failures. (The three states with 20 or more bank failures since Bear Stearns failed are 4th, 9th, and 11th on the list. The only other state in double-digits right now, Florida, is 16th.) I’ll wait patiently for Brad DeLong to explain again how “support of the banking system by the Fed and the Treasury [has] significantly helped the economy.”

The third and biggest point is that many of those are large states that have leaned Democratic in the past several years. Anyone betting that they—and the next two states, North Carolina and Wisconsin, which both went for Obama in 2008—will be hard-pressed to support Democratic policies twelve months from now without a significant change in the trend.

New Jersey showed you what happens when you run a former Goldman Sachs CEO for Governor right now. Virginia showed what happens when the base isn’t motivated. Paul Krugman makes the point directly:

The longer high unemployment drags on, the greater the odds that crazy people will win big in the midterm elections — dooming us to economic policy failure on a truly grand scale.

What are the odds of crazy people winning big? I’m not certain, but I make them much better than 20:1 based on the current data.

UPDATE: Via Mark Thoma, Free Exchange, of all places, also sees the danger:

[W]hat is clear is that it does no good for prominent, respected economists to continue heaping praise on a Fed that failed in its mission before the crisis and which [sic] is failing in its mission now.

Because as unpleasant as the prospect of Congressional intervention in monetary policy is, two more years of high unemployment might well lead to far worse.