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Economy in Brief

State Labor Markets Improve Somewhat in June
by Charles Steindel  July 16, 2021

State job growth became more widespread in June. 24 states experienced statistically significant increases in payroll employment. Arizona and Nevada saw increases above 1 percent, while Florida had the largest numerical gain (81,300). On the flip side, Alaska saw a .9 percent drop in payrolls, reflecting losses in leisure and hospitality and government. Unsurprisingly, about two-thirds of Nevada’s gain was in leisure and hospitality. For a second straight month the sum of state job changes was notably less than the corresponding national result. Unlike May, though, about half the discrepancy reflected a difference in the not-seasonally adjusted figures.

As was the case in May, over the 12 months ending in June job growth was strongest in the Northeast. Two states—Nevada and New Jersey—have seen payrolls grow more than 10 percent over the last year, which in part reflects how deeply last year’s shutdown affected those states. Job growth was on the low side (less than 4 percent) in DC and a number of states, with the most evident concentration from Kansas to Louisiana. Oklahoma’s 2.1 percent was the smallest increase.

Unemployment rates were little-changed; 7 (plus DC) had significant declines from May to June, while 3 saw significant increases. Hawaii’s .3 percentage point drop was the largest move. Connecticut and New Mexico’s 7.9 percent werre the highest rates in June; Nebraska and Utah’s 2.5 percent were the lowest. 8 states (including DC), mainly in the Northeast and west, had unemployment rates above 7 percent; 11, mostly in the Plains and Rockies, had rates below 4 percent.

Puerto Rico’s results were similar to those on the mainland, with a small drop in its unemployment rate and a modest increase in payrolls, about half of which was in leisure and hospitality.

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