U.S.: State Employment and Unemployment Summary

March 12, 2018

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in its latest report on March 12, 2018, revealed that the national unemployment rate was unchanged from December at 4.1 percent but was 0.7 percentage points lower than in January 2017. “Unemployment rates were lower in January in 6 states and the District of Columbia and stable in 44 states,” the Bureau of Labor Statistic reported. There was little or no change in jobless rate across 34 states while 16 states reported a fall in the jobless rate.

For the calendar year, 21 states added nonfarm payroll jobs while the job figures remained unchanged across 29 states. For the 21 states that experienced increase in nonfarm payroll jobs, the largest job gains occurred in California (+400,100), Texas (+240,500),and Florida (+150,900).

According to the Bureau, “Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 3 states in January 2018, decreased in 1 state, and was essentially unchanged in 46 states and the District of Columbia.” The three states that recorded a increase in nonfarm payroll were reported as follows: California (+35,500, or +0.2 percent), New Jersey (+13,000, or +0.3 percent),and Maryland (+12,900, or +0.5 percent). North Dakota by contrast reported a decrease in nonfarm payroll employment (-2,600, or -0.6 percent).

Unemployment by State

Hawaii had the lowest unemployment rate in January, 2.1 percent. The rates in Alabama(3.7 percent), California (4.4 percent), Maine (3.0 percent), and Mississippi (4.6 percent) set new series lows. Alaska had the highest jobless rate, 7.3 percent. When compared to the average US unemployment figure of 4.1 percent, 18 states had unemployment rates lower than the national figure, 9 states had higher rates while 23 states had unemployment rates that were not appreciably different from that of the national figure.

In summary, six states had unemployment rate decreases: Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio (-0.2 percentage point each) and California, Maine, and Wisconsin (-0.1 point each). The District of Columbia also had a rate decline (-0.1 percentage point). The remaining 44 states had jobless rates that were not notably different from those of a month earlier.


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