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Economy in Brief

State Labor Markets in April
by Charles Steindel  May 22, 2020

The debacle was complete. All 50 states (and DC) experienced statistically significant declines in payroll employment and statistically significant increases in their unemployment rate in April. 43 states saw new record highs in unemployment, based on the current series (starting in 1976). Nevada was highest, with a truly staggering 28.2 percent figure. Michigan and Hawaii also had rates above 20 percent. Seven states report rates under 10 percent; Connecticut's 7.9 percent was the lowest. However, with a 7.4 percent drop in its labor force the Nutmeg State really doesn't have much to boost about.

On the job side, Michigan's count fell more than 20 percent. California, New York, Texas, and Florida all shed more than 1 million jobs. The rate of decline was Oklahoma's 7.8 percent; nine other states experienced losses less than 10 percent.

A sharp drop in government employment was noted in the national data. The experience of states varied substantially. Hawaii and Wisconsin shed more than 10 percent of their government jobs, but numbers of other states had losses of less than 3 percent. Leisure and hospitality, of course, fell greatly everywhere. Unsurprisingly, some of the most severely locked-down states, such as Washington, New York, and New Jersey, lost more than half their jobs in this sector (as did Hawaii and few other states—surprisingly, Florida and Nevada were not in this group).

For a second straight month BLS was unable to compile household survey figures for Puerto Rico. The island's job count fell by more than 10 percent.

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