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Economy in Brief

State Labor Markets in April
by Charles Steindel  May 17, 2019

State payrolls were, like the national figure, generally strong in April. Ten states had statistically significant gains, led in absolute numbers by California (46,000) and in percentage terms by Rhode Island (.8%) . A handful of states did report point declines; Georgia, with a somewhat startling drop of 14,900 (.3 percent) was the only one that was statistically significant. Over the last 12 months the story of good growth over most of the nation, with some tilt toward the West, continues. Nevada and Utah were the states with job growth of 3 percent or higher. Florida was the one state in the eastern half of the nation with job growth ab0ve 2.0 percent in this period. All states, and DC, report more jobs in April 2019 than in April 2018.

Unemployment rates continue to converge, at low levels, across the nation. Alaska remains the one noticeable outlier on the high side, at 6.5% (DC is at 5.6%--while DC is not, of course, a state, its labor market is a bit bigger than Alaska’s). New Mexico, was at 5.0%. West Virginia edged down to 4.9%--its first time under 5 percent since November 2008. Mississippi and Arizona were also at 4.9%. Vermont has the lowest unemployment rate—an incredible 2.2% (according to the seasonally adjusted count, that’s 7,565 people, There may not be more cows than people in Vermont, but they surely outnumber the state’s unemployed). North Dakota’s rate was 2.3%. Every other state had a rate between 2.4% and 4.7%.

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