The biggest loser: Which state lost the most jobs?
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#12 California: Jobseeker Michael Williams flashes a 'hang loose' sign as he stands on an exit ramp in Irvine, Calif. to advertise himself to the job market. For the Golden State, the 2000s have been a bust. The last time, California had fewer workers on the job, people were gripped with millennial fervor and worried about the Y2K bug (December 1999).
Paul Bersebach/The Orange County Register/Newscom/File
#11 Delaware: In 2009, General Motors announced that it would be shutting down the Boxwood assembly plant in Wilmington, Del., as part of its restructuring plan. The nation's second-smallest state has seen employment decline despite a better than 11 percent spurt in population. Delaware started 2000 with a little over 391,000 employed people; it started 2010 with just under 390,000.
Rudy K. Lawidjaja/Sipa Press/Newscom/File
#10 Tennessee: A couple passes a blues club on Memphis's famed Beale St. The last time Tennessee had so few people on the job, its favorite son, Al Gore, was vice president of the United States. In the last two years, the Volunteer State has lost all 200,000 jobs that took a decade to create.
#9 Massachusetts: A worker harvests cranberries in Massachusetts. The Bay State has a deserved reputation as a high-earning high-tech state. But that hasn't kept its slow but steady jobs machine from stalling badly during the great recession.
#8 Missouri: A construction worker covers newly installed steel posts on the grounds of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The Show Me State's diversified economy has not protected it from the ravages of recession. In the past three years, it has lost 7 percent of its jobs while its population has grown.
#7 Wisconsin: A worker adds wax to wheels of cheese at the Carr Valley Cheese Co. in Mauston, Wis. Wisconsin is one of four Great Lakes states to start 2010 with fewer workers than at any time since the 1990s. (A fifth Great Lakes state, Illinois, barely missed the cut because of hard times during the early part of the 2000s.) In the past three years, Wisconsin has lost nearly 150,000 jobs. Newscom/File
# 6: Ohio: A worker stitches footballs at the Wilson football factory in Ada, Ohio. The Buckeye State has lost nearly 400,000 jobs in the past three years despite a well-diversified economy that includes manufacturing, mining, agriculture, as well as a strong service and professional sector in urban areas like Columbus.
#5 West Virginia: Coal miners work on an air duct in the Pinnacle Mine near Pineville, W.V. The last time the Mountain State saw employment totals this low (August 1994), President Clinton was in the midst of the Whitewater scandal and baseball fans saw the World Series canceled because of a strike.
Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune/MCT/Newscom/File
#4 Mississippi: Workers skin catfish at at Country Select Catfish in Isola, Miss. Not the 2001-02 recession, not even the devastation of hurricane Katrina, were able to bring employment rolls down the way the great recession has for Mississippi. In the immediate aftermath of the 2005 hurricane, the state a lost little over 50,000 jobs. In the past two years, Mississippi has lost nearly 80,000.
Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune/KRT/Newscom/File
#3 Indiana: Businesses are shuttered on Broadway St. in Gary, Ind. The Hoosier State is one of the few big losers of the decade that actually saw employment increase between December 2009 and January 2010. It gained nearly 5,000 jobs. But that doesn't begin to make up for the more than 290,000 jobs Indiana has lost since January 2007. Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune/MCT/Newscom/File
#2 Alabama: A pickup truck passes an abandoned cotton gin in Hartford, Ala. Few states have seen the decline in jobs that Alabama has experienced. Since January 2007, nearly 14 percent of its employment base has evaporated. The last time Alabama had so few workers employed, Bill Clinton was being inaugurated for his first term (January 1993).
#1 Michigan: Union members march on Michigan's state capitol at a June 2009 jobs rally. No state can touch Michigan in terms of job losses. The nation's automotive center has wrestled with bad times over the past three decades now. But nothing compares with the employment declines during the great recession. Since January 2000, it has lost more than 800,000 jobs, a sixth of its workforce. Not since Ronald Reagan was president have so few people worked in Michigan.