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Economy in Brief

State Labor Markets in November 2021
by Charles Steindel  December 17, 2021

State payroll employment growth in November generally looked better than the disappointing national figure. The national gain expressed as the sum of the state changes was 469,400, more than twice as large as the 210,000 that was reported for the nation several weeks ago. The discrepancy seems to reflect differences in seasonal adjustments. Not-seasonally adjusted, the sum of the state increases was only about 60,000 higher than the national figure.

Sixteen states reported statistically significant increases in payrolls in November. The highest absolute gain was Texas’s 75,100; the largest percentage gain was North Dakota’s .8. The Southwest and Pacific Coast have been the regions with the most marked job gains over the last 12 months, with Hawaii and Nevada experiencing the largest percentage gains, reflecting the recovery in tourism. A scattered number of states—literally stretching from Maine to Alaska—had gains of less than 2 percent.

Puerto Rico shared in some of the good news, with the island’s unemployment rate dropping to 7.8 percent in November (the first time since August 2019 that Puerto Rico’s rate has been under 8 percent. The all-time low for the series is 7.6 percent). Payroll employment in the Commonwealth, though, was virtually unchanged.

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