U.S. Unemployment Rates Lower in December in 11 states

January 24, 2020

Eleven states posted lower unemployment rates in December, while four states recorded higher rates for the same month. Unemployment rates remained stable in thirty-five states and the District of Columbia based on a report by the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS). Last year, there were eight states with jobless rate decreases, one states had an increase, while forty-one states and the District was relatively stable. Whereas, there was little change in the national unemployment rate, at 3.5%, over the month and 0.4% lower than in December 2018.

In addition, “Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 3 states in December 2019 and was essentially unchanged in 47 states and the District of Columbia. Over the year, 26 states added nonfarm payroll jobs and 24 states and the District were essentially unchanged,” as stated by the BLS.

Unemployment rates

Notably, South Carolina, Utah, and Vermont recorded the lowest unemployment rate in December, 2.3%, while Alaska exhibited the highest jobless rate, 6.1%. In total, 15 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 3.5%, while 12 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates. Approximately 23 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

For the period of December, Nevada and Oregon had the largest over-the-month unemployment rate decline of 0.2%. However, Louisiana and New Jersey recorded the highest increases by 0.2% each. Furthermore, thirty-five states and the District of Columbia had jobless rates that were not notably different from those of the previous month.

Notably, Alabama and Colorado experienced the highest over-the-year unemployment rate decreases (-1.1 percentage point each). The largest increases from December 2018 was observed in Mississippi (+1.0 percentage point).

Nonfarm Payroll Employment

In December 2019, Nonfarm payroll employment rose in three states. The employment largest increases in employment occurred in Texas (+29,800, or +0.2%), Washington (+10,900, or +0.3%), and Arkansas (+5,400, or +0.4%). The largest percentage gain occurred in Michigan (+0.6%), followed by Virginia (+0.4%) and Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington (+0.3% each).However, employment fell in November in Illinois (-17,200, or -0.3%).

Moreover, according to BLS, “Twenty-six states had over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment in December. The largest job gains occurred in Texas (+342,800), California (+310,300), and Florida (+212,000). The largest percentage gains occurred in Utah (+3.1%), Idaho (+2.9%), and Arizona (+2.8%).”

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