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Economy in Brief

State Labor Markets in February
by Charles Steindel  March 26, 2021

State labor markets were, in general, little-changed in February. Only 14 states reported statistically significant changes in payrolls—11 up, 3 down. The two eye-popping moves were the increases in California--141,000 (.9 percent)--and Michigan 63,500 (1.6 percent). Both reflect outsized gains in leisure and hospitality. Most states saw improvements in this sector, in numbers of instances fairly large, but those two states stood ahead of the pack. In general, unemployment rates dropped in February (Connecticut, with a rise from 8.1 to 8.5 percent, was the only state that had a large statistically significant increase). Hawaii’s unemployment rate fell more than 1 percentage point to 9.2 percent. Hawaii continued to have the highest unemployment rate in the nation; New York’s 8.9 percent was second. Unemployment rates were under 5 percent in Northern New England, the plains, and much of the Mountain West, Rocky Mountains, and Southeast, along with a number of other states. Higher unemployment rate states were in the West and Northeast.

Puerto Rican numbers were comparable to those on the mainland—little change in payrolls or unemployment.

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