Jobless Rates Down in 37 States, Up in 7 in Oct.; Payroll Jobs Up in 35 States, Down in 15

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—November 20, 2012. Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in October. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rate decreases, seven states posted rate increases, and six states had no change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Forty-two states and the District of Columbia registered unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, while eight states experienced increases. The national jobless rate, 7.9 percent, was essentially unchanged from September but was 1.0 percentage point lower than in October 2011.

In October 2012, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 35 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 15 states. The largest over-the-month increase in employment occurred in California (+45,800), followed by Texas (+36,600) and Georgia (+16,100). The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in Michigan (-16,500), followed by New Jersey (-11,700) and Minnesota (-8,100). Utah experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment (+0.7 percent), followed by Louisiana and Montana (+0.6 percent each). Alaska and Rhode Island experienced the largest over-the-month percentage declines in employment (-0.5 percent each), followed by Kentucky and Michigan (-0.4 percent each). 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 increase  occurred in North Dakota (+5.3 percent). The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred in West Virginia (-1.5 percent).

Regional Unemployment (Seasonally Adjusted)

The West continued to record the highest regional unemployment rate in October, 9.0 percent, while the Midwest again reported the lowest rate, 7.3 percent. Over the month, two regions experienced statistically significant unemployment rate changes, both of which were declines: the South (-0.2 percentage point) and the West (-0.1 point). Significant over-the-year rate changes were registered in three regions: the South and West (-1.1 percentage points each) and the Midwest (-0.9 point). (See table 1.)

Among the nine geographic divisions, the Pacific continued to report the highest jobless rate, 9.5 percent in October. The West North Central again registered the lowest rate, 5.6 percent. Three divisions experienced statistically significant unemployment rate changes over the month: the South Atlantic (-0.3 percentage point) and the Pacific and West South Central (-0.2 point each). Seven divisions had significant rate changes from a year earlier, all of which were decreases. The largest of these declines occurred in the Pacific (-1.3 percentage points).

State Unemployment (Seasonally Adjusted)

Nevada continued to record the highest unemployment rate among the states, 11.5 percent in October. Rhode Island and California posted the next highest rates, 10.4 and 10.1 percent, respectively. North Dakota again registered the lowest jobless rate, 3.1 percent. In total, 23 states reported jobless rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 7.9 percent, 10 states had measurably higher rates, and 17 states and the District of Columbia had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation. (See tables A and 3.)

Fourteen states reported statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate decreases in October. The largest of these occurred in South Carolina (-0.5 percentage point), followed by Alaska and Wisconsin (-0.4 point each). The remaining 36 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.)

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia reported statistically significant unemployment rate changes from October 2011, all of which were declines. The largest of these occurred in Nevada (-1.9 percentage points), followed by the District of Columbia and Mississippi (-1.8 points each), Florida (-1.7 points), and Idaho (-1.6 points). (See table C.)

Nonfarm Payroll Employment (Seasonally Adjusted)

In October 2012, fourteen states recorded statistically significant over-the-month increases in employment. The largest of these increases occurred in California (+45,800), Texas (+36,600), and Georgia (+16,100). Four states experienced statistically significant employment declines over the month, the largest of which was in Michigan (-16,500). (See table D.)

Over the year, 31 states experienced statistically significant changes in employment; only West Virginia’s employment decreased (-11,000). The largest over-the-year jobs increase occurred in California (+295,300), followed by Texas (+277,400) and New York (+134,500). (See table E.)

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

Source: bls.gov