U.S. Unemployment Rates Lower in February in 8 states

March 27, 2020

Eight states posted lower unemployment rates in February, while one state recorded higher rates for the same month. Unemployment rates remained stable in forty-one states and the District of Columbia based on a report by the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS). Last year, there were eleven states with jobless rate decreases, one state had an increase, while 38 states and the District were relatively stable. Whereas, there was little change in the national unemployment rate, at 3.5%, over the month and 0.3% lower than in February 2019.

In addition, “Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 4 states in February 2020 and was essentially unchanged in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 21 states, decreased in 1, and was essentially unchanged in 28 states and the District.,” as stated by the BLS.

Unemployment rates

Notably, North Dakota recorded the lowest unemployment rate in February, 2.2%, while Alaska exhibited the highest jobless rate, 5.8%. In total, 14 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 3.5%, while 10 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates. Approximately 26 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

For the period of February, Alaska and Michigan had the largest over-the-month unemployment rate decline of 0.2%. However, Maine recorded the only notable increase of 0.1% in February. Furthermore, forty-one states and the District of Columbia had jobless rates that were not notably different from those of the previous month.

Notably, Illinois, Oregon, and South Carolina experienced the highest over-the-year unemployment rate decreases (-0.9 percentage point each). The only increase from February 2019 was observed in  Pennsylvania (+0.6 percentage point).

Nonfarm Payroll Employment

In February 2020, Nonfarm payroll employment rose in four states. The employment largest increases in employment occurred in Texas (+50,400, or +0.4 %), Michigan (+12,900, or +0.3 %), Massachusetts (+11,400, or +0.3 %), and Alaska (+2,000, or +0.6 %).

Moreover, according to BLS, “Twenty-one states had over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment in February. The largest job gains occurred in Texas (+314,500), California (+269,000), and Florida (+169,800). The largest percentage gains occurred in Utah (+2.9 %), Washington (+2.8 %), and Arizona (+2.7 %). Employment decreased in West Virginia (-11,000, or -1.5 %).”

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