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Economy in Brief

State Labor Markets in September
by Charles Steindel  October 22, 2021

State payroll employment growth in September was mixed. As was the case in the initial August report, 11 states saw statistically significant increases in jobs. Texas added 95,800, Florida was up by 84,500, and California gained another 47,400. Florida also had the largest percentage gain (1.0). On the downside, Louisiana, unsurprisingly, had a dismal month, with the aftereffects of Hurricane Ida leading to a reduction of 29,600 (1.6 percent) in the number of jobs in the Pelican State. Vermont and Idaho also experienced statistically significant losses in jobs. No sectors stood out as especially strong sources of gains or losses in jobs across the nation. One interesting sidelight was that, seasonally adjusted, the sum of job growth across the states was visibly higher than the national gain (366,000 vs. 194,000). This gap is more than accounted for by the different seasonal adjustment factors for the state numbers. Not seasonally adjusted, the national number was actually a bit stronger than the figure for the sum of the states.

Over the last 12 months the West (including Texas) and parts of the Southeast have been the regions with the largest job gains; Hawaii’s 12.9 percent increase being far and away the highest in the nation. More Northerly states east of the Pacific Coast have tended to be the weakest, though Massachusetts has been a marked exception. Wyoming’s meager .6 percent increase (not statistically significant from zero) is apparently the lowest in the nation—even smaller than Louisiana’s.

27 states, as well as DC, had statistically significant declines in their unemployment rates in September. Rhode Island had the largest drop (.6 percentage point), while Arizona and New Mexico both saw .4 percentage point declines. As has recently been the case, unemployment rates were highest in the New York City region and parts of the West, as well as Illinois, with Nevada (coupled with California this month) again posting the national high (7.5 percent). Also continuing is the upper Midwest and Plains, parts of the Rocky Mountain region, and portions of the Southeast and New England reporting the lowest unemployment rates. Nebraska again reports the lowest unemployment rate (2.0 percent).

Puerto Rico’s unemployment rate edged down to 8.3 percent in September, while there was a modest increase in nonfarm jobs on the island.

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