As fears of a double dip recession spread, a new study points to a secret of success shared among the states with the lowest increase in unemployment: giving back.
Across the country, the states known for their spirit of giving maintained a stronger resilience during the economic downturn between 2006 and 2010, the National Conference on Citizenship reports.
States that help their neighbors, volunteer, register to vote, vote and attend civic meetings did not see as big a rise in unemployment from 2006-2010, compared to those states with lower rates of civic engagement.
The study attributes the relationship between volunteering and a low unemployment rate to a number of factors. Engaging in civic-minded activities can yield employable skills and new business relationships, according to the study. In addition, states in which residents give back are likely to have well-functioning governments that are better at addressing problems, the study says.
The states in which more residents helped their neighbors had the lowest increase in unemployment, the study said. Volunteering was the second most significant indicator of low unemployment.
The National Conference on Citizenship urges states to use these findings as a resource.
"Our analysis should serve as a call to action for every community in America," Michael Weiser, NCoC Chairman, said in a press release. "There is growing evidence of a connection between social capital and economic resilience and we believe our analysis presents strong correlations for how the civic health of a community can help a community weather tough economic times."
Click to see which states had the highest and lowest volunteering to unemployment ratio.
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