Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–March 25, 2016. Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in February. Twenty-two states had unemployment rate decreases from January, 8 states had increases, and 20 states and the District of Columbia had no change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, 10 states had increases, and 3 states had no change. The national jobless rate, 4.9 percent, was unchanged from January and was 0.6 percentage point lower than in February 2015.
In February 2016, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 36 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 14 states. The largest over-the-month increases in employment occurred in California (+39,900), New York (+25,100), and Pennsylvania (+21,100). The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in New Jersey (-8,600), followed by Iowa (-6,200) and Louisiana (-4,700). The largest over-the-month percentage increases in employment occurred in Hawaii and New Hampshire (+0.7 percent each), followed by Arkansas and Utah (+0.5 percent each). The largest over-the-month percentage decline in employment occurred in North Dakota (-1.0 percent), followed by Iowa (-0.4 percent) and Delaware (-0.3 percent). Over the year, nonfarm employment increased in 43 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 7 states. The largest over-the-year percentage increases occurred in Idaho (+4.0 percent), Utah (+3.3 percent), and Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington (+3.1 percent each). The largest over-the-year percentage decline in employment occurred in North Dakota (-4.9 percent), followed by Wyoming (-3.0 percent) and West Virginia (-1.5 percent).
Regional Unemployment (Seasonally Adjusted)
In February, no region had an unemployment rate significantly different from that of the U.S. Over the month, only the West had a statistically significant unemployment rate change (-0.1 percentage point). Significant over-the-year rate decreases occurred in all four regions: the Northeast (-1.0 percentage point), West (-0.9 point), South (-0.5 point), and Midwest (-0.3 point). (See table 1.)
Among the nine geographic divisions, the West North Central had the lowest rate, 3.7 percent in February, while the East South Central and Pacific had the highest rates, 5.7 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively. No other division had a rate significantly different from that of the U.S. Over the month, no division had a significant unemployment rate change. Seven divisions had significant rate changes from a year earlier, all of which were declines. The largest of these decreases occurred in the Middle Atlantic (-1.1 percentage points).
State Unemployment (Seasonally Adjusted)
New Hampshire and South Dakota had the lowest jobless rates in February, 2.7 percent each, followed by North Dakota, 2.9 percent. Alaska had the highest rate, 6.6 percent, closely followed by Mississippi and West Virginia, 6.5 percent each. The District of Columbia also had an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent. In total, 18 states had unemployment rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 4.9 percent, 11 states and the District of Columbia had measurably higher rates, and 21 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation. (See tables A and 3.)
In February, nine states had statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate declines, the largest of which occurred in Tennessee (-0.5 percentage point). Three states had significant over-the-month rate increases, the largest of which was in Wyoming (+0.3 percentage point). The remaining 38 states and the District of Columbia had jobless rates that were not measurably different from those of a month earlier, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes. (See table B.)
New Jersey had the largest unemployment rate decline from February 2015 (-2.0 percentage points). Twenty other states also had statistically significant rate decreases from a year earlier. The only significant over-the-year rate increase was in Wyoming (+1.2 percentage points). (See table C.)
Nonfarm Payroll Employment (Seasonally Adjusted)
In February 2016, 17 states had statistically significant over-the-month changes in employment, 15 of which were positive. The largest significant job gains occurred in California (+39,900), New York (+25,100), and Pennsylvania (+21,100). The significant job decreases occurred in Iowa (-6,200) and North Dakota (-4,400). (See tables D and 5.)
Over the year, 38 states had statistically significant changes in employment, 35 of which were positive. The largest significant over-the-year job increase occurred in California (+451,600), followed by Florida (+243,200) and Texas (+170,900). The significant over-the-year job decreases occurred in North Dakota (-22,700), West Virginia (-11,700), and Wyoming (-8,800). (See table E.)
The Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment news release for February is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, April 6, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT). The Regional and State Employment and Unemployment news release for March is scheduled to be released on Friday, April 15, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).
The tables referenced above can be viewed at: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.nr0.htm