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Economy in Brief

State Unemployment Rates Are Lower But Range From 3.2% To 10.2%
by Tom Moeller  January 18, 2013

Throughout the United States, the unemployment rate has fallen to some degree from the recession high.  While not down much in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, rates are nonetheless down sharply elsewhere. The problem in the labor market overall, however, is that unemployment rates remain roughly two or more times higher than at their lowest levels in 2007. The accompanying tables indicate the unemployment rates in large and small states.

In the two largest states, California and Texas, unemployment rates have declined by roughly two percentage points from their peaks. However, the unemployment rate in California remains one of the highest in the country and nearly four percentage points higher than in Texas. The unemployment rates in the least populated states, including the Dakotas, Nebraska and Iowa, remain the lowest in the country.

Without strong momentum in the country's rate of economic growth, state unemployment rates should remain high and perhaps just as divergent as they are now. The forecast from the National Association for Business Economics is for economic growth of 3.0% or less through the end of this year and an unemployment rate of 7.6% at yearend.

State unemployment figures are available in Haver's EMPLR database.

State Unemployment Rate December November 2012 2011 2010 Labor Force
Total U.S. 7.8% 7.8% 8.1% 8.9% 9.6% 155.1 mil.
Ten States With Highest Jobless Rate
  Nevada 10.2 10.8 11.7 13.6 13.7 1.4
  Rhode Island 10.2 10.4 10.8 11.3 11.7 0.6
  California 9.8 9.8 10.5 11.8 12.3 18.4
  New Jersey 9.6 9.7 9.5 9.3 9.6 4.6
  North Carolina 9.2 9.1 9.5 10.5 10.9 4.7
  Mississippi 8.6 8.5 9.0 10.7 10.5 2.3
  Georgia 8.6 8.5 8.9 9.8 10.2 4.8
  Connecticut 8.6 8.9 8.3 8.8 9.3 1.9
  South Carolina 8.4 8.3 9.0 10.3 11.2 2.1
  New York 8.2 8.3 8.6 8.2 8.6 9.6

States With Lowest Jobless Rate December November 2012 2011 2010 Labor Force
  Virginia 5.5% 5.6% 5.7% 6.3% 6.9% 4.3 mil.
  Minnesota 5.5 5.6 5.7 6.4 7.3 3.0
  New Hampshire 5.7 5.6 5.4 5.4 6.1 0.7
  Utah 5.2 5.1 5.7 6.7 8.0 1.3
  Vermont 5.1 5.2 5.0 5.6 6.4 0.4
  Wyoming 4.9 5.1 5.3 6.0 7.0 0.3
  Iowa 4.9 4.9 5.2 5.9 6.3 1.7
  South Dakota 4.4 4.4 4.3 4.7 5.0 0.4
  Nebraska 3.7 3.7 3.9 4.4 4.7 1.0
  North Dakota 3.2 3.1 3.1 3.5 3.8 0.4

Jobless Rate In Other Selected Large States December November 2012 2011 2010 Labor Force
  Florida 8.0% 8.1% 8.7% 10.5% 11.3% 9.3 mil.
  Washington 7.6 7.7 8.2 9.2 9.9 3.5
  Tennessee 7.6 7.6 8.0 9.2 9.8 3.1
  Indiana 8.2 8.0 8.2 9.0 10.1 3.1
  Arizona 7.9 7.8 8.3 9.5 10.5 3.0
  Colorado 7.6 7.7 7.9 8.3 8.9 2.7
  Ohio 6.7 6.8 7.2 8.6 10.0 5.8
  Wisconsin 6.6 6.6 6.9 7.5 8.4 3.1
  Maryland 6.6 6.6 6.7 7.1 7.8 3.1
  Texas 6.1 6.2 6.8 7.9 8.2 12.6
  Louisiana 5.5 5.8 6.9 7.3 7.5 2.1
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