U.S. Labor Department data shows the economic downturn has hit some states harder than others, reversing pre-recession trends. The Northeast and Midwest, where the manufacturing base had been eroding for years, now appear to be making better headway than states in the South and West that were doing well before the downturn hit in 2007, The New York Times reported Monday. Michigan, a Rust Belt state, was suffering from a downturn in the automobile industry for years before the recession became all but universal. Throughout the recession, however, Michigan\'s unemployment rate has generally ranked as the third-highest behind Nevada, with a jobless rate between 13 percent and 14 percent and California, where unemployment is 12.1 percent. Howard Wial, a fellow at the Brookings Institution\'s Metropolitan Policy Program, recently wrote: \"Will people think of Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona as more or less permanently depressed? Think of the Great Lakes as being a renaissance region? I don\'t know. It\'s possible.\" A Brookings Institution study showed that cities that rely on energy, government or education did better through the recession than other cities. But it also showed areas that rely on the automobile industry have come back stronger than other areas. \"For a long time we tended to outpace the national average with regard to economic performance,\" Michael Chriszt, an assistant vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta\'s research team, told the Times. \"That came to an abrupt halt, and it has not picked up.\"