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Economy in Brief

State Labor Markets in April
by Charles Steindel  May 21, 2021

Job growth was generally modest across the states in April, corresponding to the muted national figure. California was an outlier, with a strong payroll gain of nearly 102,000 (0.8 percent). Hawaii’s job count grew a vigorous 1.8 percent. Both those states saw very sharp increases in leisure and hospitality payrolls. Surprisingly, numbers of states—especially in the South—saw drops in leisure and hospitality employment. In total, only nine states saw statistically significant increases payrolls, while two saw significant drops, with Michigan down by more than 19,000 (0.5 percent).

Twelve states (including DC) had statistically significant declines in their unemployment rates in April, with the declines in Hawaii and Puerto Rico both greater than 0.5 percentage points. Hawaii still had the highest unemployment rate in the nation—8.5 percent. Utah continues to have the lowest rate, at 2.8 percent. The geographic distribution of unemployment was unchanged: the low unemployment areas are In Northern New England, the plains, and much of the Mountain West and Southeast, along with a number of other states. Higher unemployment rate states are generally in the West and Northeast.

Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate fell from 8.8 percent to 8.4 percent, despite a fairly strong pickup in its labor force. However, the job count on the island was virtually unchanged: unlike Hawaii, Puerto Rico did not see an upsurge in leisure and hospitality jobs in April.

Viewpoint commentaries are the opinions of the author and do not reflect the views of Haver Analytics.

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