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Economy in Brief

State Labor Markets in January 2022
by Charles Steindel  March 14, 2022

State payroll were generally modestly changed in January. Only 9 states reported statistically significant increases from December; the rest did not statistically significant moves of any size (the sum of the state increases was only 340,000, compared to the 481,000 increase reported in the national survey). California (53,600), New York (36,800), Pennsylvania (20,000), Georgia (19,400), and Ohio (18,600) had the largest increases, while Kansas and Maine had boosts of .6 percent.

Virtually all states saw job growth over the last 12 months. California picked up well over 1 million jobs; Nevada saw a 10.3 percent increase. Job gains were most notable from Texas west and in parts of the Northeast as well as Michigan and Florida; job growth was soft in the Plains.

19 states saw statistically significant drops in their unemployment rates in January (none larger than .3 percentage point), while Connecticut and DC saw increases of .2 percentage point. The range of unemployment across the nation has narrowed, in part reflecting revisions to recent numbers announced on March 2 (for instance, New Jersey's unemployment rate was reduced about 1 percentage point). Aside from DC's 6.3 percent, the highest rate in January was New Mexico's 5.9 percent, and Nebraska and Utah's 2.2 percent were the lowest. 10 states set new unemployment record lows.

Puerto Rico's unemployment rate fell from 7.5 percent in December to 7.1 percent in January, setting another new record low. The island's job count grew 7,600, and is now higher than its pre-Maria level, though still more than 150,000 under its 2005 peak. Gains over the past year have been most evident in retailing and leisure and hospitality, perhaps reflecting revived tourism.

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