Workplace Trends

Unemployment Rates Decreased in 37 States in October

By Lee Hecht Harrison on November 21, 2012

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday that unemployment dropped in 37 states and the District of Columbia, remained the same in six states and increased in seven. The nation’s October jobless rate was essentially the same as September (7.9 percent), but was still 1.0 percentage point lower than at the same time last year. October 2012’s nonfarm payroll employment increased in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Over the past year, 42 states and the District of Columbia registered unemployment rate decreases.

Here are the latest numbers broken out by region:

Once again, the Midwest registered the lowest regional unemployment rate (7.3 percent in October 2012, down from 7.4 percent in September) with the West North Central division the lowest in the region (5.6 percent, down from 5.7 percent the previous month). North Dakota continued to post the lowest jobless rate in the country (3.1 percent in October). The Midwest Region also registered significant monthly unemployment drops in Kansas (5.9 percent to 5.7 percent), Ohio (7.1 percent to 6.9 percent), and Wisconsin (7.3 percent to 6.9 percent). Ohio added 13,900 jobs primarily in education/health services, government, and professional/business services while Missouri added 13,000 jobs chiefly in the trades, transportation/utilities, and professional/business services.

The Northeast’s unemployment rate decreased from 8.5 in September 2012 to 8.4 percent in October with the Middle Atlantic registering a reduced jobless rate of 8.7 percent in October down from 8.9 percent in September. Rhode Island again posted the second highest state jobless rate (10.4 percent in October), but it was down from 10.5 percent in September and 11.2 percent in October 2011. New York’s unemployment rate dipped from September’s 8.9 percent to 8.7 percent in October, while New York City’s rate dropped from 9.5 percent to 9.3 percent over the month. Other states in the Northeast region registered monthly drops in unemployment including Maine (7.6 percent to 7.4 percent), New Jersey (9.8 percent to 9.7 percent), and Pennsylvania (8.2 percent to 8.1 percent).

The South’s jobless rate fell from 7.8 percent in September 2012 to 7.6 in October with all three divisions registering monthly drops: the South Atlantic (8.3 percent in September to 8.0 percent in October), the East South Central (8.4 percent to 8.3 percent), and the West South Central (6.7 percent to 6.5 percent}. South Carolina reported the most significant monthly jobless reduction in the country, plunging from 9.1 percent in September to 8.6 percent in October, a drop of -1.4 percent from October 2011. South Carolina employment increased in education/health services, government, and financial services. Florida also registered a statistically significant reduction in unemployment falling from 8.7 percent in September to 8.5 percent in October. Georgia’s jobless rate fell from 9.0 percent in September to 8.7 in October and North Carolina’s rate dropped from 9.6 percent to 9.3.

The West again reported the highest jobless rate in October (9.0 percent, down from 9.1 percent in September) with the Pacific division registering the highest at 9.5 percent, down from the previous month’s 9.7 percent. While Nevada continued to record the highest unemployment among the states in October 2012 (11.5 percent), it is steadily declining. Nevada’s jobless rate in September was 11.8 percent and its rate a year ago was 13.4 percent. California registered the third highest jobless rate (10.1 percent, down from 10.2 percent), but also recorded the largest monthly increase in jobs (+45,800), primarily in construction, manufacturing, education/health services, and professional/business services. Texas reported the second largest increase in jobs (+36,600) with significant growth in construction, education/health services, and government jobs. Hawaii’s jobless rate again decreased (5.5 percent, down from 5.7 percent in September) as did Alaska’s (7.5 percent to 7.1 percent).

Source: BLS

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