Best Way to Forecast Super Bowl XLV? Comparing Jobless Rates

January 31, 2011

Could a city's economic prosperity, as measured by employment level, make a difference in its team's chances of winning the Super Bowl? Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that it does. According to a new analysis by RiseSmart, the team whose metropolitan area boasts the lower jobless rate has won 16 of the past 20 Super Bowls – an 80 percent success rate.

Based on this historical correlation, the Green Bay Packers should be the favorite to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. Through November, the 2010 unemployment rate for the Green Bay metro area was 7.7 percent, compared to 8.1 percent for the Pittsburgh metro area.

On January 27, 1991, the New York Giants beat the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV, despite the New York City metro area having a higher 1990 jobless rate than Buffalo. After that game, however, the Super Bowl winning city had lower unemployment in 16 of the next 19 contests, including Super Bowl XLIV, in which New Orleans (6.7 percent 2009 unemployment) defeated Indianapolis (8.4 percent).

Other facts of note:

  • On the six previous occasions that both teams' metro areas have had unemployment greater than 5.5 percent -- as is the case this year -- the team from the metro area with the lower jobless rate has won in every instance.
  • This is the first Super Bowl in the past two decades in which both teams hail from metro areas with jobless rates exceeding 7 percent. On the four previous occasions that one team represented a city with 7+ percent unemployment, it lost the Super Bowl in every instance.
  • Since 1991, Super Bowl winning metro areas have had an average annual unemployment rate the prior year of 4.8 percent, compared to 5.4 percent for Super Bowl losing metro areas.

"Unemployment is the No. 1 issue in America today, and that will be true on Super Bowl Sunday as well," said Sanjay Sathe, CEO of RiseSmart, a provider of next-generation outplacement and recruitment solutions.

"In weighing the meaning of this analysis, correlation doesn't imply causation, of course. But you could argue that a fan base with lower unemployment is more likely to attend games, buy team gear, celebrate at sports bars and, ultimately, cheer their team on to victory. By contrast, a metro area that is struggling with high unemployment might have a subtle but insidious effect on its team's morale," Sathe said.

Concluded Sathe: "Never underestimate the power of having a job."

Super Bowl Winner Jobless Rate (%) Loser Jobless Rate (%)
1988 Washington 3.2 Denver 7.2
1989 San Francisco 3.6 Cincinnati 5.1
1990 San Francisco 3.3 Denver 5.4
1991 N.Y. Giants 5.5 Buffalo 5.3
1992 Washington 4.6 Buffalo 7.2
1993 Dallas 6.9 Buffalo 7.5
1994 Dallas 6.1 Buffalo 6.8
1995 San Francisco 5.9 San Diego 7.1
1996 Dallas 4.8 Pittsburgh 6
1997 Green Bay 3.4 New England 4.1
1998 Denver 2.9 Green Bay 3.3
1999 Denver 2.9 Atlanta 3.3
2000 St. Louis 3.5 Tennessee 2.9
2001 Baltimore 3.8 NY Giants 4.4
2002 New England 3.6 St. Louis 4.6
2003 Tampa Bay 5.6 Oakland 6.2
2004 New England 5.7 Carolina 6.3
2005 New England 5 Philadelphia 5.1
2006 Pittsburgh 5.2 Seattle 5
2007 Indianapolis 4.4 Chicago 4.5
2008 NY Giants 4.4 New England 4.1
2009 Pittsburgh 5.1 Arizona 5.3
2010 New Orleans 6.5 Indianapolis 8.7

Note: Jobless rates are for year prior to Super Bowl year. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For more information, visit www.RiseSmart.com.

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About RiseSmart

RiseSmart is the leading provider of next-generation outplacement solutions. The company leverages a cloud-based technology platform, proven methodologies and one-on-one support to help employers with their workforce strategy, and displaced employees with their career strategy. RiseSmart drives significant ROI to organizations by offering affordable pricing while reducing unemployment insurance taxes and severance costs. RiseSmart has received a wide range of awards and recognition from organizations including Bersin by Deloitte, the Best in Biz, Gartner Inc., the Golden Bridge Awards, LAROCQUE, the Momentum Index, Red Herring, the San Francisco Business Times, SiliconIndia, the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, the Stevie Awards and TIE.

RiseSmart, the RiseSmart logo, Transition Concierge, Transition Concierge To-Go, SmartRedeploy, Recruit Concierge, Talent Assurance, Job Assurance, SmartConsult, SmartSource, and Transitioning Talent. Changing Lives. are trademarks of RiseSmart, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

For more information, visit http://www.RiseSmart.com.

Contacts

for RiseSmart:
Woody Mosqueda, 408-993-9113
woody@lmgpr.com