Economy Watch: Most States Enjoy Steady Unemployment Rates

Not a single state suffered an increase in its unemployment rate during the month of November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Unemployment rates dropped in November in 18 states and were stable in 32 states and the District of Columbia, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. Notably, not a single state suffered an increase in its unemployment rate during the month, which is another bit of evidence buttressing the Fed’s case to raise interest rates.

Over a longer measurement period–namely since this time last year–stability characterizes the employment market in most of the states. Nine states had notable jobless rate decreases compared with November 2015, while only two states had increases. Fully 39 states and D.C. saw no significant change in their unemployment rates since this time last year.

New Hampshire and South Dakota enjoyed the lowest unemployment rates among the states in November, at 2.7 percent each. Alaska and New Mexico were burdened with the highest jobless rates, 6.8 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively. All together, 16 states had unemployment rates significantly lower than the U.S. headline rate of 4.6 percent; 11 states and D.C. had higher rates; and 23 states had rates not much different from that of the nation overall.

Thirty-one states and D.C. experienced significant year-over-year increases in payroll employment in November. The largest job gains were in California (up 377,200 jobs), Florida (up 263,900), and Texas (up 210,800). The largest percentage gains occurred in Florida (up 3.2 percent), Washington state (up 3.1 percent), and Utah (up 3.0 percent). Only one state had a significant year-over-year decline in employment: Wyoming (a loss of 8,900 jobs, or 3.1 percentage points).