An informative chart from the BLS showing the unemployment rate by region. Last month, the highest regional unemployment rate in the United States was in the West at 10.4 percent. The Northeast and Midwest had the lowest rates, 8.0 and 8.1 percent, respectively. Note the April y-o-y sharp drop of 1.6 percentage points (p.p.) in the Midwest versus the relatively smaller declines in the Northeast (0.8 p.p.), West (0.7 p.p.), and the South (0.6 p.p).
The Midwest is being helped by the boom in agricultural prices, farm values, and especially, resurgence in manufacturing. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago,
The rebounding District [Midwest] economy is being pulled along by its two hallmark goods industries—agriculture and, especially, manufacturing. The manufacturing output recovery has far exceeded overall output growth in both the nation and the District. Since the District’s manufacturing concentration exceeds that of the nation, this unbalanced recovery has exerted an outsized effect on the District economy….The District’s primary agricultural sectors have also contributed mightily to economic recovery. So far in 2011, both corn and soybean prices are trading well above 2010 and well above their previous 5-year ranges. Milk and hog prices are also trading at prices above their previous averages.