Workplace Trends

Monthly Jobless Numbers Drop in 41 States

By Lee Hecht Harrison on October 22, 2012

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week that unemployment in September fell in 41 states and the District of Columbia, remained the same in three states and increased in six. Over the past year, 44 states and the District of Columbia posted unemployment rate decreases.

Here’s a look at the numbers broken out by region:

The Midwest continued to register the lowest regional unemployment rate (7.4 percent in September 2012, down from 7.5 percent in August) with the West North Central division the lowest in the region (5.7 percent, down from 5.9 percent the previous month). North Dakota again posted the lowest jobless rate (3.0 percent in September), while significant monthly drops occurred in Iowa (5.5 percent to 5.2 percent), Kansas (6.2 percent to 5.9 percent), Missouri (7.2 percent to 6.9 percent) and Ohio 7.2 percent to 7.0 percent).

The Northeast’s jobless rate decreased from 8.6 percent in August 2012 to 8.5 percent in September with the New England District registering the only regional increase in unemployment nationwide (from 7.3 percent in August to 7.4 in September). Rhode Island posted the second highest state jobless rate (10.5 percent in August, but down from 10.7 percent in August and 11.3 percent in September 2011). New York’s unemployment rate dipped from 9.1 percent in August to 8.9 in September, while New York City’s rate plunged from 9.9 percent to 9.5 percent over the month.

The jobless rate in the South dropped (from 8.0 percent in August 2012 to 7.8 percent in September) with the West South Central registering the biggest drop in unemployment month over (from 7.0 percent to 6.7 percent). Within that region, South Carolina posted a statistically significant drop in unemployment from 9.6 percent to 9.1 percent and Louisiana’s jobless rate dipped from 7.4 percent to 7.0 percent. Florida’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.8 percent in August to 8.7 in September. The state added 4,000 construction jobs and 5,000 jobs in trade, transportation and utilities. The Miami area registered a rate of 8.8 percent in September, down from 9.2 percent in August.

The West again reported the highest jobless rate (9.1 percent, down from 9.4 percent in August) with the Pacific division registering the highest (9.7 percent, down from the previous month’s 10 percent). Although Nevada continued to record the highest unemployment among the states in September 2012 (11.8 percent), the rate had dropped from 12.1 percent in August 2012 and from 13.6 percent in September 2011. California’s third highest rate of 10.2 percent was nevertheless down from the 11.7 percent rate reported in September 2011. Utah posted a statistically significant reduction in unemployment over the month (5.8 percent to 5.4 percent), as did Hawaii (6.1 percent to 5.7 percent).

Source: BLS

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