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Economy in Brief

State Labor Markets in August 2022
by Charles Steindel  September 16, 2022

State labor market results in August were somewhat less robust than in July, with less widespread monthly job growth and some increases in unemployment rates. Only 10 states saw statistically significant increases in payrolls, with Alaska and Kentucky both up 1.4 percent, while Mississippi saw a .7 percent drop. No state saw a numerical gain larger than Kentucky's 26,700. Over the last 12 months, every state (and DC) saw a gain in payrolls, though in 4 cases the increases were not deemed to be statistically significant. Texas's 5.7 increase was the largest, while Nevada's 5.0 percent was second, while 2 other very large states (Florida and New York) had gains above 4 1/2 percent , as did Georgia and New Jersey. Mississippi and New Hampshire were the only states with (not statistically significant) gains of less than 1 ½ percent.

A full 16 states experienced statistically significant increases in their unemployment rates in August, with the rates in Maryland, Connecticut, and New York all up .4 percentage point (New Jersey's rose .3 percent). Minnesota had the lowest unemployment rate (1.9 percent) and Alaska the highest (4.6 percent) among states—DC's rate was 5.1 percent. There appears to be substantial divergence between state and national seasonal adjustments.in the household survey. New Jersey was the sole state to report labor force growth, seasonally adjusted, higher than the brisk national gain of .48 percent.

Due to a drop in its labor force, Puerto Rico's unemployment rate edged down to 5.8 percent, setting another new record low. The island did gain 5,500 jobs to reach a nine-year high.

Puerto Rico's labor market also showed some improvement. The island gained 7,500 jobs (.8 percent) in July, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent—another record low for this series, which starts in 1976, and the first time the rate has been under 6 percent. However, the drop in the unemployment rate from June to July was an artifact of a decline in the labor force, as resident employment declined.

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