In 2008, while the Recession was still a-brewing some of us tried in vanity and naivete to link the collapse of Manufacturing with the increase in unemployment and the Housing Crisis and then the Financial Crisis. Happily, we can move beyond the anecdotal to the empirical now for data on unemployment over the last decade. Many of us just sort of knew that when you put folks out of good jobs, they lose their houses, then they lose their Banksters.
What the Moody's Elkhart Project shows is how the growth of unemployment starts from the center of the nation where the manufacturing jobs are most numerous in 2005 and spreads outward towards both coasts. As the unemployment numbers increase so do the concentrations of housing defaults in Nevada, Florida, Arizona and California.
Click here to see Moody's regional data in interactive graphs and timeline.
Moody's has created an adversity index,a graphical interactive site, which correlates regional disasters, like Elkhart losing their RV manufacturing, to the economic local conditions, over time.
cities with greater economic diversity tend to show steadier growth. A balance of industries usually means less boom or bust. Cities that put all their eggs in one market basket increase their risk of calamity.
Yet this is also true: Most of the 35 metro areas that have largely avoided recent recessions, and most of the 14 metro areas that still haven't fallen into the current recession, are Johnny One Notes, dominated by a single industry. They're college towns (State College, home of Penn State), government centers (Olympia, Wash.), military bases (Virginia Beach, Va.), or the stray mecca for health care (Rochester) or agriculture (Salinas, Calif., the Salad Bowl of America).