The State Government Leadership Foundation is committed to educating decision makers on how economic prosperity is best achieved and fostered. The State Government Leadership Foundation is committed to supporting policies that provide for less and more efficient government, which ultimately allows for the competitive environment and outstanding entrepreneurship that keeps the American economy strong, state by state.
The SGLF further believes that economic prosperity goes hand and hand with lowering the tax burden, while simultaneously lowering government spending. We believe this decreased tax burden will not only help America’s families, but will also help in America’s road to economic recovery. The SGLF also supports lower government spending at the state level. We support policies that aim to hold governments responsible for their spending habits.
Free market principles work best in our economy and help foster the entrepreneurial spirit that America is known for. By eliminating harmful and burdensome government red tape and by decreasing taxes and limiting spending, American businesses will be able to flourish.
Although technically out of a recession, the United States is still experiencing a terrible economic downturn. National unemployment continues to hover around 7% and states across the country are seeing companies and jobs flee to other locations, leaving behind a trail of economically depressed cities and unemployed residents.
State leaders need to look for ways to incentivize businesses to open or relocate in their state. States that best do this have decreased government regulations, lower business taxes, tax incentives, and other economic development programs designed to stimulate growth.
Taxes, Spending, & Budgeting
The ballooning cost of government has been forcing legislators to consider tax increases in order to balance their budgets. The SGLF supports making government leaner and more efficient in order to avoid tax and fee increases. Families have had to make difficult decisions on how to save money in this economic downturn, and governments need to do the same. Belt tightening is also good for future fiscal policy, and helps states be proactive rather than reactive.
Spending too much is not an excuse for raising taxes. In order to stay true to prudent fiscal policy, states must reign in government spending instead of asking citizens to continue dishing out more of their hard-earned money, especially during these difficult economic times.
Rainy Day Funds, much like savings accounts, are also wise financial reserves to have in case of emergencies.
As was the case in many states once federal stimulus money was handed out, recurring expenses should not be funded with one-time revenue sources. Once that money dries up, the recurring expense is still present, and creates an even bigger issue on how to fund it in the future.
Identifying cost saving in all areas of the budget will serve as a responsible budget strategy as well as not allowing any area of the budget to remain immune from cuts, especially in these economic conditions.
Studies show that overall Americans are wary of government regulation on businesses. A Pew Research Center study conducted in 2009 asked whether or not surveyors thought regulation of business usually does more harm than good, and a majority of respondents agreed that regulation normally does more harm than good. Although their opinions may vary after drastic current events such as the recent financial crisis, in general Americans are wary about the effects of government regulations.
News & Articles
SGLF Launches Ad Buy on Secretary of State Jon Husted’s Record in Ohio
Today, the State Government Leadership Foundation (SGLF) launched a digital ad buy highlighting Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s unwavering support for small business and free enterprise. The five-figure ad buy will run for two weeks throughout the state, beginning this afternoon.
SGLF Launches Ad Buy On Billy Nungesser’s Record of Public Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the State Government Leadership Foundation (SGLF) launched a multi-platform ad buy highlighting Billy Nungesser’s outstanding record as a public servant in Louisiana. The radio and digital ads are set to run for the next six days in Louisiana and seek to remind citizens of Nungesser’s history as an unyielding advocate for Louisiana families...
SGLF Launches Ad Buy Highlighting Commissioner Jim Donelon’s Record for Louisiana
Today, the State Government Leadership Foundation (SGLF) introduced a five-figure digital ad buy that highlights Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon’s history of fighting for Louisiana residents’ insurance needs. The digital ads will run for 10 days in the state and are designed to remind citizens of Donelan’s record of lowering insurance rates and increasing taxpayer protection in the years since Hurricane Katrina when many in the state needed reliable and affordable insurance the most.
“Protecting and earning the trust of Louisiana citizens who greatly depend on quality insurance coverage at affordable rates is not an easy task, and Commissioner Donelon has done just that,” said SGLF Executive Director Matt Walter. “During his tenure, he has fought back against flood insurance rate hikes, has increased the size of the state’s insurance market and has cut costly regulatory red tape. At a pivotal moment in the state’s history following Hurricane Katrina, his efforts helped Louisiana rebuild.”
SGLF Launches Radio Ad Buy Promoting Commissioner Chaney’s Record of Success
Today, the State Government Leadership Foundation (SGLF) launched a radio ad buy on the Mississippi Gulf Coast promoting state Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney’s extensive record of fighting to protect Gulf Coast residents. The radio ads will run for one week and serve to remind Mississippians of the steps Commissioner Chaney has taken while in office to look out for those in Mississippi who may need insurance protection the most.
“From opening a Gulf Coast office to better serve South Mississippi residents impacted by Hurricane Katrina to fighting to lower flood insurance costs, Commissioner Chaney has made protecting Mississippians a top priority during his time in office,” said SGLF Executive Director Matt Walter. “In a state where affordable, quality insurance coverage is so critical to all of its residents, the Magnolia State has an ally in Commissioner Chaney.”
“When it comes to watching out for Mississippi families, Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney is getting the job done. By opening a Mississippi Insurance Department office on the Gulf Coast to serve thousands of residents devastated by Hurricane Katrina and fighting to lower insurance premiums and better protect the homes of thousands of recovering families. And when it comes to safeguarding our tax dollars and financial future, Commissioner Chaney has dedicated his career to doing just that by helping return nearly $16 million dollars to consumers in claims and premium payments and helping reduce auto insurance premiums by up to 20 percent. And when the Federal Government wanted to increase our flood insurance costs - Commissioner Chaney fought back until Congress passed a new law to reverse the higher costs. Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney - A resilient fighter who will keep protecting Mississippi. Paid for by the State Government Leadership Foundation.”
SGLF Launches Ad Buy on Speaker Madigan’s Inexcusable Debt
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the State Government Leadership Foundation (SGLF) launched a digital ad buy asking Illinoisans to stand up to Michael Madigan and the massive debt each citizen has incurred since he became Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1983. Since then, Illinois’ total debt levels have risen to more than $321 billion, or $24,959 per person in the state, giving Illinois the fifth highest debt levels in the country. While Madigan keeps Springfield in gridlock with his dire attempt to raise the debt another $4 billion, the digital ads ask citizens to tell Madigan to quit digging Illinois into a ditch.
“The over 12 million people of Illinois are owed answers by Speaker Madigan on why he insists on deepening 30 years of reckless spending with his current budget proposal,” said SGLF Executive Director Matt Walter. “Such an enormous debt impacts every member of the Prairie State, and it’s time to tell the Speaker that enough is enough.”
The digital ad buy launched today and will run through the rest of the week around the state.
Tax Foundation Ranks State Business Tax Climate
Wyoming and South Dakota topped the rankings for states' business tax climate in the 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index
released last week by the Tax Foundation
, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. The Index compares state' tax systems in terms of their friendliness to business and conduciveness to economic development. The 2015 Index is based on the premise that taxes play an important
role in where businesses choose to locate, and that states use their tax
systems to compete with one another for those businesses. For that
Index asserts that an analysis of state tax policy offers the best explanation for economic growth.
S&P puts negative outlook on Illinois credit rating
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Wednesday revised the outlook on Illinois' A-minus credit rating to negative, citing risks over the implementation of a recent pension reform law. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Wednesday warned that Illinois' already low credit rating could sink further if the state is unable to implement reforms to curb its big unfunded pension liability and balance its budget. The credit rating agency revised the outlook on Illinois' A-minus credit rating to negative from developing, citing a recent state supreme court ruling that could derail a new pension reform law and the state's structurally imbalanced state budget. “If the pension reform is declared unconstitutional or invalid, or implementation is delayed and there is a continued lack of consensus and action among policymakers on the structural budget gaps and payables outstanding, we believe there could be a profound and negative effect on Illinois' budgetary performance and liquidity over the next two years and that this could lead to a downgrade,” S&P said in a statement.
Ohio collecting more in online sales taxes
DAYTON — Online sales-tax collections hit a record $45 million in Ohio in the budget year that just ended, a 68 percent increase from five years ago. The money is pouring in after Ohio officially joined a multistate effort to streamline sales tax for online purchases in January. The Ohio Department of Taxation estimates that the state stands to eventually tap into $308 million worth of tax revenue from online sales. Still, Ohio doesn’t have legal authority to collect from online retailers that don’t have a physical location in the state. Amazon.com’s closest warehouse is in Hebron, Ky. The result: Many consumers don’t get charged sales tax on millions of dollars’ worth of purchases. While consumers save money, local businesses say the practice hurts them because bargain hunters will turn to online retailers that don’t charge taxes, especially for big-ticket items. Local governments say that even though the state is collecting more online sales taxes, they still are missing out on taxes that could help pay for paving roads and prosecuting criminals.
S.D. GDP gets boost from agriculture, health care
South Dakota's economy continued to grow last year, a broad boom led by agriculture, health care and finance. The 6.8 percent growth in South Dakota's GDP was fourth highest in the nation and almost twice the national rate. Adjusted for inflation, South Dakota's gross domestic product grew by 3.1 percent last year. That's still among the best rates in the country. Adjusting for inflation accounts for rising prices and provides a better comparison of the economy's strength. Inflation-adjusted gross domestic product is called "real GDP." The biggest contributor to South Dakota's economy boom was the farm sector. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting combined grew to $6.3 billion last year from $4.7 billion in 2012 — a 14.4 percent increase, adjusted for inflation.
Boom offers economic growth, opportunities in La.
Written by TED GRIGGS AND TIMOTHY BOONE for The New Orleans Advocate on June 12, 2014Economic Prosperity
Methanex’s decision to relocate two methanol plants from Chile to Geismar demonstrates the advantages driving the industrial boom
in south Louisiana: easy access to the Mississippi River, natural gas and large plots of land, as well as a major limitation, transportation, said Jessica Kemp, vice president of policy and advocacy at the Center for Planning Excellence. “If you drive down River Road, you’ll see a dozen similar sites and you’ll notice they all have these great big parking lots for these thousands of workers,” Kemp told attendees at the Connect Boom Without Bust Policy Forum. “You’ll also notice there’s only one way in and one way out." About 100 people were on hand for the opening session. The challenge for the state and southeast Louisiana in particular will be figuring out the best way to accommodate the coming industrial, business and residential growth and the resulting traffic, Kemp said. The goal is to create sustainable growth and avoid the bust that often follows a boom. The most conservative estimates show $60 billion in major project investment in the state, with $21 billion in the Baton Rouge-to-New Orleans corridor. “We don’t see a lot of what’s coming yet, but right now, it’s like a big cannonball moving through a python,” said Dan Borne, president of the Louisiana Chemical Association.
Kentucky House and Senate Leaders Agree on State Budget
State Universities and teachers made some small gains, but Lexington lost the state funding it sought for the remake of Rupp Arena in a final budget agreement reached by legislative leaders Sunday morning. The budget accord came after 18 hours of negotiations that began at midday Saturday with a political shouting match and ended at 5:30 am Sunday with Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Republican Senate President Robert Stivers arm-in-arm. “We have reached a fiscally responsible budget, one that has a significant investment in education.” Stivers said. “It was feisty at times.” Said Stumbo, who started the shouting on Saturday. “But that’s just part of the political process.” The two leaders said they expected the agreement would be approved Monday by the House and Senate.
Louisiana $50 Billion coastal Restoration Plan Would Inject Billions More Into Economy Every Year, Study Finds
Under Louisiana’s $50 billion, 50-year coastal restoration plan, the economy would see a boost from construction, cost savings from lower insurance and less hurricane damage, and the creation of a coastal science industry with the potential for being a global leader, according to a report released Thursday. Investing in implementing the plan – which calls for projects ranging from rebuilding barrier islands to raising buildings – would translate into billions of dollars more in economic benefits: $12.35 billion in annual spending, $757 million in annual state and local tax revenues and creation of 109,360 permanent jobs with $3.61 billion in annual earnings, according to the report by economist and former University of New Orleans chancellor Tim Ryan
Oklahoma Senate approves conditional tax cut
A proposed change would cut the state’s income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent when Oklahoma’s general revenue reaches a certain point.
The Oklahoma state Senate on Thursday approved a conditional state income tax cut. “I am pleased to present to you today legislation which honors the commitment that we made last year to reduce taxes for the hard-working taxpayers of Oklahoma,” said state Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, who presented Senate Bill 1246 on the Senate floor. The bill would cut Oklahoma’s top income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent once certified projections for the state’s general revenue fund get back to where they were when the Legislature approved a tax cut last year. The earlier tax cut bill was struck down by the Oklahoma Supreme Court because it covered more than one topic.
The earliest the Senate’s new proposed tax cut could take place is the 2016 tax year. The bill contains a conditional provision for a subsequent cut in the top income tax rate to 4.85 percent as soon as the state’s revenue growth is enough to offset the amount that would otherwise be lost because of the additional tax cut. Mazzei told Senate members that about 70 percent of Oklahoma taxpayers would receive some reduction in their income taxes if the Senate bill becomes law.
In plot twist, California needs tax breaks to lure film crews
It’s a tale almost good enough for the big screen. Tired of seeing other states pony up big cash to attract television shows, movies and jobs, California is looking to boost its own tax breaks for entertainment projects. Democratic state Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra plans to introduce legislation in February to increase California’s $100 million-a-year budget for film and TV tax incentives and expand the type of productions able to claim tax credits to big-budget films and network shows, which are now excluded. It may seem ironic that the home of Hollywood needs to persuade studios to shoot in the state, but budget-tightening in the past decade has led to a system where nearly all location decisions are based on how much cash states dangle before production companies. And with nearly 40 states offering financial incentives, competition is fierce.
Economists: Local, state economies continue recovery, but budget woes could loom
The Boulder region and Colorado are doing "pretty darn well," from an economic standpoint, but some concern should be placed on the ongoing health of the state budget, two of Colorado's leading economists said Thursday. The year-over-year gains in Colorado's general fund mask a lurking problem: that a combination of factors could very well create a significant state funding gap in the future, said Richard Wobbekind, economist at the University of Colorado, and Phyllis Resnick, president of the Colorado Futures Center at Colorado State University. Wobbekind and Resnick were joined by Josie Heath, president of the nonprofit Community Foundation Serving Boulder County, and William Farland, former chairman of nonprofit lab and science consortium CO-LABS, to share their insights about the local, state and national economy at the Boulder Economic Council's "2014 Economic Forecast: Boulder & Beyond." Resnick, speaking on a panel that preceded Wobbekind's keynote address, said Colorado's current revenue gains are "temporary phenomena." The state's budget in recent years has been propped up by one-time infusions such as federal stimulus dollars and housing credits that fueled growth in real estate and equity markets, she said.
Boeing to shift research jobs to Missouri, Alabama, S. Carolina
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Boeing announced Thursday that it is
shifting hundreds of jobs to Alabama, Missouri and South Carolina as part of a
restructuring of its U.S. research operations over the next two years. The Chicago-based aerospace company said the reorganization will result
in fewer research jobs in Washington state and California and is being
undertaken to better meet the needs of its commercial airplane, military and
space and security units. The announcement comes as those same states, and several others, are
competing to assemble Boeing's 777X passenger plane — a much-sought-after
facility that could generate thousands of jobs. Boeing spokesman Daryl Stephenson said the restructuring of the
company's research operations has been in the works for several years and is
unrelated to the new airplane or Boeing's contract negotiations with a Seattle
area machinists union.
The research restructuring will add 300-400 employees each in the St.
Louis area, Huntsville, Ala., and North Charleston, S.C. Research jobs will
decline by 800-1,200 in the Seattle area and by 200-300 in southern California,
the company said. The restructuring is to start early next year and be complete by 2015. After the changes, Boeing will still have about 4,000 employees in its
research and technology operations, but they will no longer be concentrated
predominantly on the West Coast. The Seattle and St. Louis sites will have the
most employees, and each site will have specific research tasks. The Alabama site is to focus on simulation and decision analytics and
metals and chemical technology. The southern California location is to focus on
flight sciences, electronics and networked systems. The St. Louis site is to
conduct research on systems technology, digital aviation and support
technology, and metallic and fabrication development.
Iowa business interests push tax changes
DES MOINES | Iowa’s big-city business leaders Wednesday called for a
simpler, flatter income tax and a higher gas tax to help fix roads and bridges. Leaders of the Iowa Chamber Alliance, representing business interests
in the state’s 16 largest urban areas, say Iowa’s complicated income tax system
for individuals and corporations is hard to explain to businesses looking to
locate in the state. Deteriorating infrastructure also hurts business recruitment efforts,
the said in outlining their priorities for the 2014 legislative session. “Iowa’s road system requires immediate attention,” said Kelly Halstead,
economic development director for the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. She
said her nonpartisan group supports new or alternative sources of revenue,
including a fuel tax increase.
Alliance leaders also said they support efforts to simplify and reduce
income taxes, allowing businesses and individuals to choose to file under the
current system or to use a filing alternative that would be simpler, with lower
rates and fewer deductions. Steve Firman, director of government relations for the Greater Cedar
Valley Alliance and Chamber in Waterloo-Cedar Falls, said Iowa ranked 40th
among states in the Tax Foundation’s 2014 tax climate comparisons because it’s
difficult to explain the complexity of federal deductibility that skews Iowa’s
true rates. “In economic development, if you’re explaining, you’re losing,” Firman
A tax cut in North Carolina, but first, new paperwork
Written by David Ranii and Virginia Bridges for The Charlotte Observer on December 08, 2013Economic Prosperity
The most significant overhaul of North Carolina tax law in a generation
takes effect in a few weeks, ushering in sweeping changes that include more
take-home pay and a broader sales tax that includes movie and concert tickets. But first comes the paperwork. Most taxpayers are being asked to complete a new form this month, a
direct consequence of the new income tax system. It’s a complication – some
would say hassle – for employees and employers alike that is drawing complaints
even from some who cheered when GOP lawmakers pushed through a new tax bill and
Gov. Pat McCrory signed it into law in July.
The new law lowers individual income tax rates to a flat 5.8 percent in
2014 and eliminates dozens of deductions from state returns. The change means
employees must fill out a revised form – the equivalent of the federal W-4 –
that will determine how much state income tax is withheld by their employer.
Those who receive pensions and annuities must also complete the new forms. George Ports, senior executive at CAI, a human resource management firm
with offices in Raleigh and Greensboro, said employers have been calling and
asking: “Is this for real?”
Business tax cut tops Pence legislative agenda
Written by Dan Carden for The Times of North West Indiana on December 05, 2013Economic Prosperity
INDIANAPOLIS | Ignoring data showing that Indiana's decade of
trickle-down prosperity policies haven't improved the income, health or quality
of life for most Hoosiers, Gov. Mike Pence promised Thursday to deliver still
more business-centered programs in the upcoming legislative session. "I think a rising tide lifts all boats," Pence said. "So
we're continuing to promote policies that will encourage investment and
jobs." The top item on the Republican governor's Roadmap 2014 is eliminating
the business personal property tax, which would sap another $1 billion a year
from cash-strapped schools and local governments already forced to cut services
due to the $950 million annual impact of property tax caps.
Pence said Indiana's tax on business equipment, which 38 other states
also impose, is an impediment to companies considering relocating to the state,
and eliminating it will further improve Indiana's already top-rated business
tax climate. "I truly do believe that by phasing out the business personal
property tax in the state of Indiana we will ensure that Indiana remains in the
very forefront of the competition to attract new investment and jobs,"
Alabama House Republicans release "Commonsense Conservative" agenda for 2014 session
MONTGOMERY, Alabama --- The Alabama House Republican Caucus today released
its 2014 legislative agenda, which House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn said
would help businesses and the state’s economy. Several of the bills are intended to streamline or reduce taxes,
according to summaries of the bills released by the caucus. The caucus dubbed the nine-bill package the "Commonsense
Conservative" agenda. The 2014 session will be the last regular session of the four-year
term. Republicans have controlled the Legislature since winning
filibuster-proof majorities in 2010. Before that, Democrats had controlled the
Legislature for more than 130 years. Hubbard said next year’s agenda would be a strong complement to bills
the Republicans have passed during the term. “We’re not done building,” Hubbard said. “We’ll continue that in the
next quadrennium. But for this quadrennium, it’s a perfect way to cap it off.”
Legislature Passes Fix For $100B Pension Crisis
Written by Sean Powers and Jeff Bossert for Willradio.tv.online on December 03, 2013Economic Prosperity
The Illinois Legislature has approved a historic plan to eliminate the
state's $100 billion pension shortfall, considered the worst in the nation. The House voted 62-53 Tuesday in favor of the plan, which the Senate
approved just minutes earlier. It now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who has said he
will sign it. Legislative leaders say the plan will save the state $160 billion over
30 years by cutting retirement benefits for hundreds of thousands of workers
and retirees.Ahead of the vote, House Speaker Michael Madigan defended the
pension plan, saying it is not a one-sided bill.
“There will be changes here, much needed changes," Madigan said.
"This bill is a well thought out, well balanced bill that deserves the
support of this body, the state Senate, and the approval of Governor Quinn.” Republican House Minority Leader Jim Durkin also stressed the importance
of passing the pension overhaul. “I think it’s ironic today that the Detroit bankruptcy judge as it was
mentioned earlier did rule that the city of Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy
protection," Durkin said. "Our failure to act and to move in a positive
manner like today could ultimately put these systems in the same position as
the city of Detroit and shame on us if that occurs.”
Nevada money aimed at attracting federal drone program
CARSON CITY — Nevada is preparing to get into the drone business. The state Board of Examiners will be asked Dec. 3 to approve a request
from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to use $1.46 million from a
legislative contingency fund to oversee the start-up of an unmanned aerial
vehicle program in Nevada. The funding request is contingent upon Nevada’s designation as a
national test site for the drone program. The states winning out in the
competition are expected to be notified by the Federal Aviation Administration
by Dec. 31. There are 25 finalists for six sites.
If approved by the Board of Examiners, the funding request will go to
the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee on Dec. 9 for consideration. The 2013 Legislature set aside $4 million for the economic development
office to assist in drone test site development efforts. Gov. Brian Sandoval, a member of the Board of Examiners, pushed for the
funding in the 2013 session, noting that Nevada has been hosting military drone
operations for years. If Nevada is selected, Sandoval said the designation could bring
thousands of jobs, generate $125 million in annual state and local tax revenue
and have an overall economic impact of $2.5 billion.
No Nebraska counties will impose sales tax in 2014
The only Nebraska county with a sales tax will end it next year, state
tax commissioner Kim Conroy said Tuesday. Dakota County is planning to stop its half-cent sales tax in 2014,
because a voter-approved referendum has helped pay for a new jail and law
enforcement center. Joan Spencer, an assistant to the Board of Commissioners, said the
county started collecting sales tax money for the project Jan. 1, 2005. The tax generated $7.8 million to pay off 10-year
bonds. Spencer said the county paid off the bonds early, so the tax no longer
Nebraska has 93 counties and 530 cities. As of Jan. 1, the state will
have 208 cities that impose local option
sales taxes, ranging from a half-cent to 1.5 cents per dollar. Seward is among
the cities planning to raise their sales taxes to 1.5 percent next year. But Dakota County is the only county statewide to levy a sales tax,
according to the Nebraska Department of Revenue. Local-option sales taxes are more common among cities; counties mostly rely on property
taxes and, to a lesser extent, the inheritance tax and fees. The Dakota County sales tax has applied only to unincorporated areas
and in cities or villages that didn't already have a sales tax, Conroy said.
The sales tax did not apply to South Sioux City or the village of Jackson,
because both levy sales taxes of their own.
Idaho jobless claims drop to lowest since 2006
Written by The Associated Press for The Idaho Statesman on November 26, 2013Economic Prosperity
BOISE, IDAHO — Idaho's unemployment insurance claims dropped to their
lowest level since 2006, a year of strong economic growth that preceded the
deep recession that began in December 2007. The Department of Labor said Monday it paid 7,462 regular benefit
claims during the third week of November, 14 fewer than that week in 2006. The amount paid was still 23 percent higher than 2006, however, because
the average benefit is $25 higher this year at $255, reflecting benefit
increases over the past seven years. Through the third week of November, the total regular benefit payout
was $108.1 million, compared to $91.3 million through the same 47 weeks in
2006. In addition to regular unemployment benefits, the department paid
$585,000 in federally-financed extended benefits to 2,500 long-term unemployed
workers. Those end Dec. 31.
In 16 states, unemployment is at its lowest in at least four years
Unemployment reached multi-year lows for about a third of states last
month, but a full jobs recovery is still not here. Sixteen states saw the jobless rate in October fall to its lowest level
in more than four years. In all but two, October unemployment was at its lowest
level since late 2008 or the early months of 2009. In Minnesota, unemployment
hasn’t been this low since January 2008. And it’s been more than a decade since
North Dakota saw an unemployment rate of 2.7 percent as it did in October. (The
last time was August 2001.) In all, unemployment dropped from September to last
month in 39 states. And only three states—Arkansas, Oklahoma and Ohio—saw
nearly two-year highs.
But the situation isn’t as rosy as those statistics suggest. The jobs
recovery still pales in comparison to the recoveries following the 1981, 1990
and 2001 recessions, according to data from Doug Hall, director of the Economic
Analysis and Research Network at the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank
focused on the needs of low- and middle-income workers. Unemployment had nearly or fully recovered this many months after the
start of the three other recessions, as depicted in Hall’s chart below. In the
aftermath of the Great Recession, however, it remains high relative to where it
was at the start.