What states come to mind when you think corn, wheat and soybeans? Any list probably would include the Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.
It so happens that those five states also reported the nation’s lowest unemployment rates at the end of 2009. And that’s no coincidence. While construction and manufacturing companies plunged into the Great Recession, crop farmers enjoyed high prices and bumper yields.
And they spread enough of their bounty at the local grain elevators, hardware stores and gas stations to help hold unemployment to less than half the levels suffered in states that were hit by auto-industry retrenchment and the burst of the housing bubble.