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Economy in Brief

State Labor Markets in March
by Charles Steindel  April 16, 2021

The pace of improvement in state labor markets in March was varied. Despite the very large increase in national payrolls, only 29 states reported statistically significant gains, though Alaska was the only state to register a (small and statistically insignificant drop). 3 very large states accounted for a big share of the overall increase: California (up 119,600), Texas (99,000) and New York (63,700). In all three cases pickups in leisure and hospitality jobs were important factors. Illinois and Florida were the only other states to see increases above 30,000. On a percentage basis New Mexico's 1.3 percent rise was the largest.

Many states saw statistically significant drops in their unemployment rates from February to March; Tennessee was the only state to show any noticeable, though not statistically significant, increase (from 4.9 to 5.0 percent). The general pattern of unemployment across the nation was essentially unchanged, with Hawaii continuing to have the highest rate (9.0 percent) with New York second (8.5 percent). The low unemployment areas were 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 generally in the West and Northeast.

Puerto Rico's numbers were fairly good, with the island adding 2,400 jobs—mainly in leisure and hospitality--and its unemployment rate falling from 9.1 percent to 8.8 percent.

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