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Economy in Brief
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by Tom Moeller December 19, 2016
The decline in the overall unemployment rate to 4.5% during November reflects a range of state unemployment rates from a high of 6.8% in Alaska to a 2.7% low in South Dakota.
The unemployment rate in Alaska continued to top the chart at 6.8% versus 6.5% during all of last year. The level of unemployment has risen 1.8% during the last twelve months versus a 6.6% decline in the country overall. Louisiana also registered a high unemployment rate at 6.2%, about where it's been for three years. Unemployment has risen 4.5% y/y. Two other states at the high end of the scale were West Virginia at 6.0% and Pennsylvania at 5.7%. Employment in the Keystone state rose just 0.4% y/y.
At the bottom of the state unemployment tally were small states including South Dakota at 2.7%, even though it had just 0.9% y/y employment growth. Hawaii similarly had a low jobless rate at 3.0%, reflecting 2.8% growth in employment. Colorado's low 3.2% unemployment rate brought with it 3.6% jobs growth. Another large state with low unemployment was Minnesota at 3.8%, but employment declined 1.4% y/y. The labor force similarly fell 1.3% y/y. Finally, Virginia's low 4.2% jobless rate brought with it just a 0.5% y/y rise in the number of jobs.
Unemployment amongst other states similarly varied greatly. Unemployment in New Jersey at 5.0% remained up from its low of 4.3% in February, as employment dipped 0.2% y/y. New York's unemployment rate of 5.1% was up from a 4.7% low, and employment has declined 1.0% y/y. In New York City, the jobless rate stood at 5.7%, reflecting a 1.9% y/y decline in employment. On the bright side of the unemployment spectrum was Massachusetts where its jobless rate of 2.9% was down from 8.8% in January 2010. Employment has risen 3.3% y/y.
Within large cities, unemployment in and around Los Angeles of 5.1% was below the state's average of 5.3% due to 4.3% growth in employment. Around Chicago, the jobless rate of 5.8% compared to Illinois' average of 5.6%, but employment grew just 0.8% y/y. In Washington, unemployment stood at 5.3%. Around Seattle, the low 3.7% unemployment rate was down from 9.4% during all of 2010, as employment grew 3.9% y/y. Michigan experienced 4.9% unemployment, but it was 5.6% around Detroit where employment declined 2.8% y/y.
State unemployment figures are available in Haver's EMPLR database.
A Healthy Labor Market Still Includes Many Puzzles from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is available here.
Total U.S. Unemployment Rate (%)
Ten States With Highest Jobless Rate
|Ten States With Lowest Jobless Rate|
|Jobless Rate In Other Selected Large States|