Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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Most States Unemployment Rate Still Climbing

The unemployment rate continued to climb in nearly all states and regions for May, according to a report released today by the government. The national unemployment rate rose from 8.9% in April to 9.4% in May, and is now 3.9% higher than it was a year ago.

Vermont was the only state to show no change in the unemployment rate of 7.3% from April to May, and Nebraska was the only state to actually report a decrease in the unemployment rate, dipping slightly from 4.5% in April to 4.4% in May.

Non-farm payroll employment decreased in 39 states and increased in 11 states and the District of Columbia during May.

California had the largest over-the-month decrease in employment, losing 68,900 jobs. Florida lost 61,000 jobs, Texas employment fell by 24,700, and Michigan employment decreased by 23,900.

Massachusetts had the largest over-the-month increase in employment, gaining 4,900 jobs. Connecticut gained 3,600 jobs, North Dakota added 3,000, and Alaska employment increased by 2,900.

Over the year, 45 states experienced statistically significant changes in employment, all decreases. California lost the largest number of jobs in the nation - 744,000, followed by Florida - 417,500, Michigan - 302,800, Illinois - 273,500, and Ohio - 262,100. Only four states lost fewer than 15,000 jobs over the year: New Hampshire - 14,800, Vermont - 13,300, Montana - 8,400, and South Dakota - 6,800.

In May, the West reported the highest regional jobless rate at 10.1%, followed by the Midwest at 9.8%. (The last time any region posted a jobless rate of 10% or higher was in September 1983 when the Midwest recorded a rate of 10.1%.) The Northeast had the lowest jobless rate for May at 8.3%, and the rate for May in the South was 8.9%. These numbers are seasonally adjusted.

While all four regions registered statistically significant unemployment rate increases from April, Midwest led with the greatest increase of 0.6 of a percentage point. All four regions also reported significant jobless rate increases from May 2008, the largest of which was in the West at +4.2 percentage points.

Michigan again reported the highest jobless rate at 14.1% in May, followed by Oregon at 12.4%, Rhode Island and South Carolina each at 12.1%, California at 11.5%, Nevada at 11.3%, and North Carolina at 11.1% - an all-time record high rate for those states other than Michigan. (Michigan's all-time high unemployment rate was 16.9% back in November 1982.) Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia also had unemployment rates of at least 10%.

Nebraska and North Dakota posted the lowest unemployment rates at 4.4% each. South Dakota and Wyoming also had relatively low unemployment rates at 5% each. Overall, 12 states and the District of Columbia had significantly higher jobless rates than the national figure of 9.4%, 29 states reported measurably lower rates, and 9 states reported jobless rates that were about the same as the national rate.

Earlier this week, the Economic Advisory Committee (EAC) of the American Bankers Association said in a statement, "The country's economic recession will end during the third quarter, but high unemployment and large federal deficits will linger."

"The economy will return to growth but not to health," said Bruce Kasman, committee chairman and chief economist for JP Morgan Chase, New York. "Growth in the coming quarters is likely to gather momentum but will not prove sufficiently robust to undo much of the severe damage done to our labor markets and public finances," he said.

U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Monday, 26 February 2024

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