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Economy in Brief

U.S. State Unemployment Rates Move Lower
by Tom Moeller  September 20, 2013

The overall U.S. unemployment rate declined last month to 7.3%. While the rate's improvement was widespread, it continued to reflect great variation amongst individual states. Nevada continued to be at the high end of the jobless rate's range at 9.5%, yet that was down from 13.8% averaged during 2010.  To the upside m/m was Michigan. Here, the unemployment rate rose to 9.0%, though it remained down 3.7 percentage points versus 2010. Also, California's jobless rate inched up m/m to 8.9% but it was 3.4 percentage points lower than the 2010 high of 12.3%. 

In other states, job market improvement has been slower to develop. Though New Jersey's unemployment rate slipped to 8.5% last month, it was down just one percentage point from the 2010 average. In New York the same picture of slow job market improvement was in evidence. Last month's 7.6% unemployment rate was up m/m and down just one percentage point from the 2010 high. Illinois also held near the country's high at a 9.2% unemployment rate and that was down just slightly from 10.4% in 2010.

The unemployment rate figures in individual metropolitan areas continue, in a few circumstances, to differ widely from the state numbers. Florida's 7.0% unemployment rate, is well below the 7.9% in the Miami metro area, although Miami's rate is down from 12.4% in 2010. Michigan's 9.0% jobless rate also is under the 9.6% jobless rate around Detroit. New York state's 7.6% unemployment rate is below the 8.6% in New York City while California's 8.7% rate is under 9.9% around Los Angeles. Still near one another is the Illinois unemployment rate of 9.2% and the 9.4% rate around Chicago. Also, Ohio's 7.3% rate of joblessness is near Cleveland's of 7.2%. Working the other way is Washington state's 7.0% jobless rate as it by far exceeds Seattle's 5.2%.

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

State Unemployment Rate Aug Jul 2012 2011 2010 Labor Force
Total U.S. 7.3% 7.4% 8.1% 8.9% 9.6% 155.7 mil
Ten States With Highest Jobless Rate
  Nevada 9.5 9.5 11.1 13.2 13.8 1.4
  Illinois 9.2 9.2 8.9 9.7 10.4 9.6
  Michigan 9.0 8.8 9.1 10.4 12.7 4.7
  California 8.9 8.7 10.5 11.8 12.3 18.6
  North Carolina 8.7 8.9 9.5 10.3 10.8 4.7
  New Jersey 8.5 8.6 9.5 9.3 9.6 4.6
  Tennessee 8.5 8.5 8.0 9.3 9.8 3.1
  Mississippi 8.5 8.5 9.1 10.5 10.5 1.3
  Indiana 8.1 8.4 8.4 9.0 10.1 3.2
States With Lowest Jobless Rate Aug Jul 2012 2011 2010 Labor Force
  Virginia 5.8% 5.7% 5.9% 6.5% 7.1% 4.2 mil
  Minnesota 5.1 5.2 5.6 6.5 7.3 3.0
  New Hampshire 5.0 5.1 5.5 5.5 6.1 0.7
  Iowa 4.9 4.8 5.2 5.9 6.3 1.6
  Utah 4.7 4.6 5.7 6.9 8.1 1.4
  Wyoming 4.6 4.6 5.4 6.1 7.0 0.3
  Vermont 4.6 4.6 5.0 5.6 6.4 0.4
  Hawaii 4.3 4.5 5.8 6.5 6.8 0.7
  Nebraska 4.2 4.2 3.9 4.5 4.7 1.0
  North Dakota 3.0 3.0 3.1 3.5 3.8 0.4
Jobless Rate In Other Selected Large States Aug Jul 2012 2011 2010 Labor Force
  Arizona 8.3% 8.0% 8.3% 9.4% 10.4% 3.0 mil
  Connecticut 8.1 8.1 8.3 8.9 9.3 1.8
  New York 7.6 7.5 8.5 8.3 8.6 9.6
  Ohio 7.3 7.2 7.2 8.6 10.0 5.7
  Massachusetts 7.2 7.2 6.7 7.3 8.3 3.5
  Florida 7.0 7.1 8.6 10.3 11.3 9.4
  Louisiana 7.0 7.0 6.4 7.3 7.4 2.1
  Washington 7.0 6.9 8.2 9.2 9.9 3.5
  Wisconsin 6.7 6.8 6.9 7.6 8.4 3.1
  Texas 6.4 6.5 6.8 8.0 8.2 12.8
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