U.S. Unemployment Rates higher in March in 29 states

April 17, 2020

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia posted higher unemployment rates in March, while three state recorded lower rates for the same month. Unemployment rates remained stable in eighteen states based on a report by the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS). Last year, there were three states with jobless rate decreases, twenty-three state had increases, while 24 states and the District were relatively stable. Whereas, there was an increase in the national unemployment rate to 4.4%, over the month which is 0.6% higher than in March 2019.

In addition, “Nonfarm payroll employment decreased in 31 states in March 2020 and was essentially unchanged in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 13 states, decreased in 2, and was essentially unchanged in 35 states and the District.,” as stated by the BLS.

Unemployment rates

Notably, North Dakota recorded the lowest unemployment rate in March, 2.2%, while Louisiana exhibited the highest jobless rate, 6.9%. In total, 25 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 4.4%, while 13 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates. Approximately 12 states had rates that were not noticeably different from that of the nation.

For March, Nevada and Colorado had the largest over-the-month unemployment rate increase by +2.7 percentage points and +2.0 percentage points, respectively. Alaska experienced the largest unemployment rate decrease from February (-0.2 percentage point).

Furthermore, the largest jobless rate increase from March 2019 was observed in Louisiana (+2.4 percentage points), Nevada (+2.2 points), and Pennsylvania (+1.9 points). However, 12 states experienced increases of a full point or more. Moreover, the largest jobless rate decreases over the year were experienced in Oregon and South Carolina (-0.8 percentage point each).

Nonfarm Payroll Employment

In March 2020, Nonfarm payroll employment fell in thirty-one states. The employment largest decreases in employment occurred in California (-99,500), Texas (-50,900), and New York (-41,700). The largest percentage declines, however, were experienced in Louisiana and Rhode Island (-1.1% each), followed by Missouri and Vermont (-0.9% each).

Moreover, according to BLS, “Thirteen states had over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment in March, 2 had decreases, and 35 states and the District of Columbia were unchanged. The largest job gains occurred in Texas (+250,900), California (+150,400), and Florida (+126,000). The largest percentage gains occurred in Utah (+2.6%), Idaho (+2.4%), and Arizona (+2.2%). Employment decreased in Vermont (-7,700, or -2.4%) and West Virginia (-12,600, or -1.7%).”


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