Economy Watch: State Unemployment Rates Still Stable

Unemployment rates were significantly lower in December in 10 states, higher in only one and stable in 39 states and D.C., the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.
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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Among the states, employment rates are mostly stable, which might not mean the nation is enjoying full employment, but instead is at a place in which employment growth is going to be fairly slow but steady. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this week that unemployment rates were significantly lower month-over-month in December in 10 states, higher in only one state, and stable in 39 states and the District of Columbia.

Moreover, 11 states enjoyed notable jobless rate decreases in December from a year earlier, while only two states suffered increases and 37 states and D.C. experienced no change. The national unemployment rate of 4.7 percent was little changed from November, but 0.3 percentage points lower than in December 2015.

New Hampshire had the lowest unemployment rate in December, 2.6 percent, followed by Massachusetts and South Dakota, at 2.8 percent each. Both New Hampshire and South Dakota have enjoyed low unemployment rates for some time, but Massachusetts has only recently dipped so low (a year earlier, the rate was 4.9 percent). Alaska and New Mexico had the highest jobless rates, 6.7 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively.

Among the states with the largest real estate markets, Texas has the lowest unemployment rate, at 4.6 percent, while Florida’s is 4.9 percent. New York has a rate of 4.9 percent as well. California, which has made a remarkable recovery from the recession, insolvency and a drought, has an unemployment rate of 5.2 percent.