A new report in the New York Times outlines one of the little-talked about phenomena of the recession that drained the U.S. of jobs and wealth in 2008 and 2009. For those in the worst-affected zones, the report finds, the damage has been severe and lasting. Heavy manufacturing regions, like Michigan, and those areas that had massive housing bubbles, like California, fared the worst.
Job losses and falling real estate values have been concentrated in these regions, though; and for some, the recession has all but passed them by.
Indeed, the New York Times found, workers who didn’t lose their job often received raises as companies squeezed more productivity out of their existing labor forces. In addition, inflation has been low and in some cases, prices have fallen on many goods.
When no one is buying flat-screen TVs and new furniture, those goods often end up on sale, benefiting the workers who still have jobs.
There’s also an educational gap – though the national unemployment rate is 9.5 percent, it’s only 4.5 percent for college graduates. Highly educated, skilled workers remain in demand – particularly if they are worried about keeping their jobs and willing to accept lowball offers.