Friday, January 22, 2010

Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Regional and state unemployment rates were generally higher in December. Forty-three states and the District of Columbia recorded over-the-month unemployment rate increases, four states registered rate decreases, and three states had no rate change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the year, jobless rates increased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The national unemployment rate was unchanged in December at 10.0 percent but was 2.6 percentage points higher than a year earlier.

In December, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 11 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 39 states. The largest over-the-month increase in employment occurred in Virginia (+9,500), followed by Oklahoma (+5,000), Oregon (+2,900), New Hampshire and Washington (+2,000 each). New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Virginia experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment (+0.3 percent each), followed by the District of Columbia, Hawaii,and Oregon (+0.2 percent each). The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in California (-38,800), followed by Texas (-23,900), Ohio (-16,700), Illinois (-16,300), Michigan (-15,700), Wisconsin (-15,200), and Georgia (-15,100). Montana (-1.5 percent) experienced the largest over-the-month percentage decrease in employment, followed by Nevada (-1.0 percent), Iowa and South Dakota (-0.9 percent each), and Vermont (-0.8 percent). Over the year, non-farm employment decreased in all 50 states but increased in the District of Columbia. The largest over-the-year percentage decreases occurred in Wyoming (-6.8 percent), Nevada (-6.6 percent), Michigan (-5.1 percent), and Arizona (-4.8 percent).

Regional Unemployment (Seasonally Adjusted)

The West had the highest regional jobless rate in December, 10.7 percent. The Northeast recorded the lowest rate, 9.2 percent. The North-east had a statistically significant rate increase over the month (+0.5 percentage point). The South had the only other significant regional rate change (+0.3 percentage point). Over the year, all four regions registered significant rate increases, the largest of which was in the West (+3.3 percentage points). (See table 1.)

Among the nine geographic divisions, the Pacific continued to report the highest jobless rate, 11.7 percent in December. The East North Central recorded the next highest rate, 11.3 percent. The West North Central registered the lowest December jobless rate, 7.3 percent, followed by the West South Central, 8.0 percent. The South Atlantic rate (10.3 percent) set a new series high. (All region, division, and state series begin in 1976.) Five divisions experienced statistically significant unemployment rate increases from a month earlier, the largest of which were in East South Central and New England (+0.5 percentage point each). No division had a rate decrease. All nine divisions reported significant over-the-year rate increases of at least 1.8 percentage points. The largest of these occurred in the East South Central (+3.8 percentage points)and East North Central (+3.7 points).