Workplace Trends

22 states post unemployment decreases in December; national rate unchanged

By Lee Hecht Harrison on January 22, 2013

In last week’s Regional and State Employment and Unemployment news release, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in December 2012, 22 states posted unemployment rate decreases, 16 states and the District of Columbia reported increases and 12 states remained the same. The national unemployment rate of 7.8 percent was the same as November, but the jobless rate has dropped 0.7 since December 2011. The largest monthly non-farm payroll increases in employment were in New York (+35,100), New Jersey (+30,200), Georgia (+14,400) and Missouri (+10,200).  Source: BLS

The BLS released the  following regional employment statistics from the month of December 2012:

The Northeast Region registered the same unemployment rate in December 2012 as in November (8.1 percent), but posted an increase in unemployment from the previous year (8.0 percent).

  • New England Division: Unemployment in the New England Division remained the same month over (7.3 percent) with Connecticut and Vermont registering jobless rate decreases.
  • Mid–Atlantic Division: The Mid-Atlantic Division’s December jobless rate remained the same as November (8.4 percent), up from the 8.2 percent rate registered a year earlier. New York reported a decrease in unemployment in December (8.2 percent) from the previous month’s rate of 8.3 percent.

The Midwest Region again reported the lowest unemployment rate (7.1 percent), unchanged from November 2012, and down from 7.9 percent in December 2011.

  • East North Central Division: The East North Central Division’s December 2012 unemployment rate remained unchanged from November (7.9 percent), and was down from December 2011’s rate of 8.7 percent. Michigan’s jobless rate for December 2012 (8.7 percent) remained the same as the previous month, and was down from December 2011 (9.3 percent) and while Illinois’ December 2012 rate of 8.7 remained unchanged from November, Chicago’s rate of 8.9 percent was down from 10.1 percent a year earlier.
  • West North Central Division: The West North Central Division again registered the nation’s lowest jobless rate (5.4 percent), down from November 2011 (5.5 percent) and December 2011 (6.1 percent). North Dakota again posted the country’s lowest unemployment rate (3.2 percent) followed by Nebraska (3.7 percent). Iowa tied Wyoming for the country’s fourth lowest rate (4.9 percent).

The Southern Region’s December 2012 unemployment rate (7.2 percent) was down from November’s rate (7.3 percent) and considerably lower than the jobless rate posted a year earlier (8.4 percent).

  • South Atlantic Division: December 2012’s jobless rate remained unchanged from November 2012 (7.8 percent), but was down from a year earlier (8.4 percent). Month-over decreases in unemployment occurred in Florida (8.1 percent to 8.0 percent) and Virginia (5.6 percent to 5.5 percent).
  • East South Central Division: The East South Central Division registered a drop in unemployment from November 2012 (7.9 percent) to December (7.7 percent), down from the previous year’s 8.8 percent.
  • West South Central Division: The West South Central Division registered a monthly decrease in unemployment from 6.1 percent in November 2012 to 6.0 percent in December and posted the largest decrease in unemployment over the year (-1.3 percentage points).

The Western Region continued to record the highest regional unemployment rate in December, at 8.6 percent, but down from 9.6 percent a year earlier.

  • Mountain Division: Although Nevada continued to record the highest unemployment rate among the states in December (10.2 percent), it also posted the largest over-the-month decrease in December (-0.6 percentage point).
  • Pacific Division: Of all the geographic divisions, the Pacific continued to report the highest unemployment in December 2012 (9.2 percent) down from 10.4 in December 2011.

Source: BLS

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