Recession Nation: 49 States at Risk

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Now the recession is spreading to other states where the housing bubble never burst. For instance, Wyss said, the Boeing strike was a drag to Washington state's economy and spread over into Oregon.

"The exception is the part of the country between the Mississippi River and the Rockies, which is still doing pretty well," he said. "High farm prices are good if you are in Iowa. High oil prices are good if you are in Houston."

Peter Morici, an economics professor at the University of Maryland, said a decline in manufacturing is really hurting the Rust Belt. That said, the economy still is very regional and industry-specific.

"It always varies. Even during the Great Depression, there were people that hardly felt it," Morici said. "Recessions and depressions always have varying effects on people and locations."

Agriculture is doing well because of ethanol development and a growing demand for grains by people in Asia.

Budget Shortfalls

Several state governments already face major budget shortfalls.

"The state governments are an exercise in irresponsibility. Through the property boom, they enjoyed the increase in people's assessments," Morici said. "They are just not structured to handle the cynical movements in their revenue the way they should be.

"Just like companies, municipalities can behave irresponsibly in good times, not shore up any money for bad times and then go crying to the federal government when they need cash," he added.

Casey Mulligan, an economics professor at the University of Chicago, said a lot of regions have a few industries. When those industries suffer, the whole area tends to. Take New York City, which is now hurting because of troubles in the financial sector based there.

One bright spot on the economy is consumer goods. Brands like Coca-Cola and General Mills are doing well, Mulligan said, in particular, thanks to strong international growth. The large high-tech companies also appear to be doing well.

"It's true in all recessions and booms," he added, "that there are some places that don't participate."

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