USA Today reports that vehicle traffic fell an incredible 30% in US metro areas in 2011. This was during a period of time in which the unemployment rate supposedly fell. From the article:
Traffic congestion dropped 30% last year from 2010 in the USA's 100 largest metropolitan areas, driven largely by higher gas prices and a spotty economic recovery, according to a new study by a Washington-state firm that tracks traffic flows.
That was the largest drop since the nation plunged into recession in December 2007.
Of the 100 most populous metro areas, 70 saw declines in traffic congestion while just 30 had increases, says Jim Bak, co-author of the 2011 U.S. Traffic Scorecard for Kirkland, Wash.-based INRIX.
That was a reversal of what happened in 2010, when 70 had increases in congestion and 30 had declines. Tampa had the biggest increase in congestion, and Minneapolis the biggest drop.
A 30% one year decline is a statistical outlier and then some. Such a precipitous decline would suggest that the unemployment rate rose in 2011, and by a large number. How serendipitous that today's Buried Headlines includes a story about Obama officials pressing government contractors to alter the way they calculate unemployment.
Maybe the unemployed gave up commuting for job interviews and took McJobs in the neighborhood?