U.S. December’s Unemployment Rates Down in 19 states and up in 12

January 26, 2021

For the month of December, jobless rates were lower in 19 states, higher in 12 states, and unchanged in 19 states and the District of Columbia based on a report by the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS). Forty-five states and the District experienced jobless rate increases from last year, one state had a decline while four states had little or no change. There was no change in the national unemployment rate, 6.7% over the month but was 3.1 percentage points higher than in December 2019.

Moreover, “in December 2020, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 15 states, decreased in 11 states, and was essentially unchanged in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment decreased in 48 states and the District and was essentially unchanged in 2 states,” as stated by the BLS.

Unemployment rates

Notably, Hawaii and Nevada exhibited the highest jobless rate in December of 9.3% and 9.2%, respectively. Whereas the rates in Nebraska (3.0%) and South Dakota (3.0%) were the lowest. In total, 25 states experienced unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 6.7%, 10 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 15 states experienced unemployment rates that were not noticeably different from that of the nation.

For December, New Jersey had the largest over-the-month unemployment rate decrease by 2.6 percentage points, followed by Arkansas (-2.1 points). Rates decreased over the month by more than 1.0 percentage point in an additional 4 states: Kansas and Louisiana (-1.3 points each), Nevada (-1.2 points), and Hawaii (-1.1 points). In Colorado (+2.0 percentage points), the highest over-the-month jobless rate rise occurred. There were also rate increases in Washington (+1.4 points), Missouri (+1.3 points), and Tennessee (+1.2 points), in excess of 1.0 percentage points.

The largest unemployment rate increase from December 2019 was observed in Hawaii (+6.6 percentage points). The next largest over-the-year rate increases were recorded in Colorado (+5.9 percentage points), Nevada (+5.5 points), and California (+5.1 points). The only jobless rate decrease over the year occurred in South Dakota (-0.4 percentage point).

Nonfarm Payroll Employment

In December 2020, nonfarm payroll employment rose in 15 states, fell in 11 states, and was stable in 24 states and the District of Columbia. The largest increases in employment occurred in n Texas (+64,200), Georgia (+44,700), and North Carolina (+33,600). The largest percentage increases were recorded in Alaska Hawaii (+2.0%), Georgia (+1.0%), and Utah (+0.9%). However, employment declined in Michigan (-64,400), California (-52,200), and Minnesota (-49,800). The largest percentage decreases in employment were in Minnesota (-1.8%), Michigan (-1.6%), and Oregon (-1.4%).

Moreover, according to BLS, “over the year, nonfarm payroll employment decreased in 48 states and the District of Columbia and was essentially unchanged in 2 states. The largest job declines occurred in California (-1,410,000), New York (-1,020,700), and Michigan (-486,800). The largest percentage declines occurred in Hawaii (-13.8%), Michigan (-10.9%), and New York (-10.4%).”


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