Recent employment reports have shown that the labor market is seriously distressed. Last month, the national unemployment rate rose a half percentage point – the largest one-month increase since 1986. In general, the nation has seen lackluster wage and job growth over the economic recovery of the 2000s. Between 2000 and 2007, across the nation, inflation-adjusted wages grew by just 0.3 percent per year, while productivity grew by 2.5 percent per year. As shown below, fourteen states have seen falling wages over that time period.i Additionally, many states have recessionary levels of unemployment: the unemployment rate in Michigan, Rhode Island, Alaska, Mississippi, California, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Ohio, Nevada, Kentucky, and the District of Columbia is already above 6.0 percent.