We’ll be passing through Ohio in a few days on our way to the East Coast (that is, if Hurricane Sandy doesn’t change those plans) and, while we’ve never spent much time there, it doesn’t take much to come away thinking that the “rust belt” deserves its name.

As shown in the snapshot below from The Economist, in many ways the state is pretty typical of others, but, they’re really falling behind when it comes to income, what is probably the most important under-reported story on the U.S. economy in recent years.

On our last trip eastward, we stayed in Canton, Ohio in order to stop in and see the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While the place is nothing like, say, Gary, Indiana, you can’t help but come away with the impression that time has somehow passed it by.

More than a century ago it was smack in the middle of a U.S. oil boom led by John D. Rockefeller and, then, the surrounding auto industry bolstered people’s fortunes. But, recent decades haven’t been nearly as kind, though fracking offers some hope.