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Economy in Brief

State Labor Markets in October
by Charles Steindel  November 20, 2020

State labor market data results in October were generally strong. 37 states had statistically significant drops in their unemployment rates from September to October, with Illinois’s 3.6 percentage-point drop being the largest. 8 states, though, saw statistically significant increases in unemployment, with Kentucky’s 1.8 percentage point increase the largest. Unemployment rates in October ranged from Nebraska’s 3.0 percent to Hawaii’s 14.3 percent (Nevada was the only other state with a rate higher than 10 percent). In general, unemployment rates are higher in the Southwest (though Louisiana, New Jersey, and New York all had October rates about 8 percent), and lower in the northern Plains (though Vermont, New Hampshire, Georgia, and Florida are eastern states with rates below 5 percent).

32 states had statistically significant increases in payrolls in October with California and Texas reporting gains greater than 100,000.September (California’s payroll gain of 145,500 was wildly outstripped by the report of an incredible gain of nearly 900,000 in resident employment). Alaska had the highest percentage change. 2 states saw statistically significant drops in jobs.

Looking at the industry composition, states generally saw continued gains in leisure and hospitality—which may now be in jeopardy as the virus ramps up—and reductions in government.

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