Jobless Rates Down in 37 States, Up in 3 in Dec.; Payroll Jobs Up in 25 States, Down in 24

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—January 24, 2012. Regional and state unemployment rates were slightly lower in December. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rate decreases, 3 states posted rate increases, and 10 states had no rate change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Forty-six states registered unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, while four states and the District of Columbia experienced increases. The national jobless rate, 8.5 percent, continued to trend down in December and was 0.9 percentage point lower than in December 2010.

In December, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 25 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 24 states, and was unchanged in 1 state. The largest over-the-month increase in employment occurred in Texas (+20,200), followed by Indiana (+15,100) and California (+10,700). The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in New York (-14,000), followed by Missouri (-11,800) and Washington (-11,600). South Dakota experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment (+1.1 percent), followed by North Dakota (+0.9 percent) and Indiana, Kentucky, and Utah (+0.5 percent each). Nevada experienced the largest over-the-month percentage decline in employment (-0.9 percent), followed by Alaska (-0.5 percent) and Maine, Missouri, and Washington (-0.4 percent each). Over the year, nonfarm employment increased in 46 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 4 states. The largest over-the-year percentage increase occurred in North Dakota (+5.7 percent), followed by Utah (+3.0 percent) and Oklahoma (+2.7 percent). The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred in Delaware (-0.7 percent), followed by Alaska   (-0.5 percent) and Georgia (-0.4 percent).

Regional Unemployment (Seasonally Adjusted)

The West continued to record the highest regional unemployment rate in December, 9.7 percent, while the Midwest and Northeast reported the lowest rates, 7.9 percent each. Three regions experienced statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate changes: the Midwest and South (-0.3 percentage point each) and the West (-0.2 point). Over the year, all four regions registered significant rate decreases, the largest of which was in the West (-1.3 percentage points). (See table 1.)

Among the nine geographic divisions, the Pacific continued to report the highest jobless rate, 10.4 percent in December. The West North Central again registered the lowest rate, 6.1 percent. Six divisions experienced statistically significant unemployment rate decreases over the month. The largest of these occurred in the East South Central (-0.4 percentage point). Seven divisions recorded significant rate declines from a year earlier, the largest of which was in the Pacific (-1.3 percentage points). No division reported an unemployment rate increase from December 2010.

State Unemployment (Seasonally Adjusted)

Nevada continued to record the highest unemployment rate among the states, 12.6 percent in December. California posted the next highest rate, 11.1 percent. North Dakota again registered the lowest jobless rate, 3.3 percent, followed by Nebraska and South Dakota, 4.1 and 4.2 percent, respectively. Twenty-four states reported jobless rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 8.5 percent, 8 states and the District of Columbia had measurably higher rates, and 18 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation. (See tables A and 3.)

Eighteen states experienced statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate declines in December. The largest of these were in Alabama (-0.6 percentage point) and Michigan (-0.5 point). The remaining 32 states and the District of Columbia recorded 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.)

Nevada registered the largest jobless rate decrease from December 2010 (-2.3 percentage points). Twenty-one additional states reported smaller but also statistically significant decreases over the year. The remaining 28 states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rates that were not appreciably different from those of a year earlier. (See table C.)

Nonfarm Payroll Employment (Seasonally Adjusted)

In December, eight states recorded statistically significant changes in employment, five of which were increases. The statistically significant job gains occurred in Indiana (+15,100), Kentucky (+8,400), Utah (+6,400), South Dakota (+4,600), and North Dakota (+3,800). The statistically significant declines in employment occurred in Missouri (-11,800), Washington (-11,600), and Nevada (-9,800). (See tables D and 5.)

Over the year, 28 states experienced statistically significant changes in employment, all of which were increases. The largest increase occurred in California (+263,200), followed by Texas (+204,500) and Florida (+113,900). (See table E.)

To view the tables referenced above, see: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.nr0.htm

Source: bls.gov