New data from the U.S. Department of Labor indicates that Arizona, California, Florida, and Nevada — the four states hit hardest by the housing market collapse — are now seeing the most jobs growth. Combined, they added 222,100 jobs between August and December 2011, or 28 percent of total national employment growth, according to a story in Bloomberg
Since 2006, homes in those four states have, on average, lost half of their value. Data from CoreLogic shows Nevada home prices have dropped 60 percent from their peak; Arizona, 51 percent; Florida, 49 percent; and California, 44 percent.
As conditions begin to improve, homeowners have been able to reduce debt while increasing their net worth. Most of the gains in these states have come from local industries, including technology in California; tourism in Arizona and Florida; and gambling in Nevada.
Recovery of employment and housing in these states could have a significant impact on the coming elections as well. Florida and Nevada are both considered crucial swing states in the presidential campaign; Nevada is also key in deciding the balance of power in the Senate.
The largest national employment gains came in industries like computer systems design, food services and drinking establishments; in all, 227,000 jobs were added to U.S. payrolls in February.
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