by Joseph Coletti
Senior Fellow, Fiscal Studies, John Locke Foundation
Two recent analyses illustrate some of the underlying challenges in America.
Labor force participation is lower in states that voted for Donald Trump, and even lower in the metropolitan areas that voted for Trump in those states. Unemployment rates are lower than in blue states, but it is not always a result of people filling more jobs. North Carolina’s labor force participation rate of 61% is similar to other “red” states. Robin Brooks, chief economist at the Institute for International Finance, who did the analysis, told the Wall Street Journal
“To unite the country, you need to supercharge the economy. Then the labor market will get tighter and you’ll suck in workers on the fringe,” he says. “Much of red America isn’t participating in the jobs growth. They’re on the fringe.”
Across red and blue states from Connecticut to Texas, there are “1.5 million missing black men.” For every 100 black women not in jail between the ages of 25 and 54 nationwide, there are just 83 black men. The leading contributors to this gap are prison and death.
It’s impossible to know precisely how much of the difference is the result of mortality, but it appears to account for a big part. Homicide, the leading cause of death for young African-American men, plays a large role, and they also die from heart disease, respiratory disease and accidents more often than other demographic groups, including black women.
It is hard to overstate the potential implications of these two pictures in the economy and politics, and more importantly in communities and families.