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While pundits and politicians observe the first signs of a spring thaw in the troubled economy of the United States, workers in Gulf South states are still waiting for signs that their lives will be better. According to a new report from the Pew Economic Policy Group, in the Gulf South the number of unemployed persons has more than doubled to 2,654,281 in February 2010 from 1,208,649 in February 2008. While Louisiana—still “benefiting” from hurricane recovery spending—and Texas continue to have unemployment levels below the national average of 9.7 percent, Florida (12.2 percent), Mississippi (11.4 percent) and Alabama (11.1 percent) endure rates that exceed the national level. Alabama has seen the greatest growth in unemployment—a 156 percent increase in just two years. Mississippi was not far behind with a 145 percent increase. Already, 3.5 million workers nationally have been out of work for more than a year, the highest number of workers idled for so long since World War II.