Why Are People in Red States Dropping Out of the Labor Force?

Though the labor market has grown robustly nationwide this year, progress has been uneven across blue states and red states. An increasing number of people in red states have stopped looking for work, while a larger share of people in blue states are actively in the workforce.

The participation rate, which shows the number of people who are employed or are looking for work, fell in red states to 62% in September from 62.6% in April, while notching up in blue states to 63.9% from 63.8% over the same period, according to research from the Institute of International Finance. The report categorized a state red if it voted for President Donald Trump in 2016′s presidential election and blue if it voted for Hillary Clinton.

The kinds of jobs available to workers in red states and blue states appear to be driving the trend. Slow-growing sectors like manufacturing and retail are more common in red states, the report notes, while lucrative and rapidly-expanding sectors like technology and life sciences are clustered on the coasts in blue states.

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