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Economy in Brief

State Labor Markets in October
by Charles Steindel  November 19, 2021

Perhaps surprisingly, given the strong national numbers, only 25 states reported statistically significant gains in payrolls in October (none reported a significant decline). The four largest states saw the greatest absolute increases: California (96,800), Texas (56,000) New York (43,900), and Florida (41,500). Louisiana’s job count soared 1.9 percent as the state recovered from Hurricane Ida and Alaska was up 1.4 percent. Numbers of states saw strong gains in leisure and hospitality, including all the above-mentioned (interestingly, Hawaii saw a drop in that category, and Nevada’s gain was fairly small).

It continues to be the case that over the latest 12-month period the West (including Texas) and parts of the Southeast have been the regions with the largest job gains; Hawaii again led the way with a 10.5 percent increase being far and away the highest in the nation, while Wyoming again saw the smallest increase—barely 1 percent and not statistically significant from zero.

28 states, as well as DC, had statistically significant declines in their unemployment rates in October. Alabama had the largest drop (.5 percentage point), while Connecticut, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Wyoming all saw .4 percentage point declines. Unemployment rates are highest in much of the Northeast and industrial Midwest, as well as portions of the West. California and Nevada have the highest unemployment rates (7.3 percent); New Jersey’s 7.0 percent is next. The upper Midwest and Plains, parts of the Rocky Mountain region, and portions of the Southeast and New England are reporting the lowest unemployment rates. Nebraska again reports the lowest unemployment rate (1.9 percent).

Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate moved down to 8.0 percent in October, accompanied by a .5 percent increase in nonfarm jobs .

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