A few weeks after every big monthly job report comes out, more detailed information is released showing a breakdown of the payroll gains and losses in each state. The latest of these extended reports showed that fourteen states had statistically significant month-over-month increases in nonfarm payroll employment in September, and three states had significant decreases. The largest absolute increases in employment last month occurred in Texas (+38,300), California (+30,000), and Florida (+23,000), while the biggest declines were found in Wisconsin (-10,500), Alabama (-6,600), and New Mexico (-4,200). The gain in Florida was helped by another solid improvement in manufacturing employment (+0.31 percent), which pushed the annual pace of growth to another new record.
As for joblessness, seven states last month had statistically significant unemployment rate decreases, and only one state had a notable increase. Compared to a year ago, six states had statistically significant unemployment rate decreases, with the largest decline being found in Massachusetts (-1.2 percentage points). Four states had significant unemployment rate increases over the past year, with Oklahoma and Wyoming seeing joblessness rise the most (+1.0 percentage point each). The lowest unemployment rate in the country in September could be found in New Hampshire and South Dakota (both at 2.9 percent), and Alaska had the highest rate of joblessness last month (6.9 percent). For comparison, the national rate of unemployment (U-3) was 5.0 percent in September. Overall, joblessness in America continues to slowly decline, and unemployment could fall again in the fourth quarter given that retailers appear to be getting an early start on their holiday hiring. A new survey conducted by Xerox HR Services also found that the highest priority for employers in 2017 is retaining top talent. All of that signals a tightening labor market, which should be supportive of faster wage growth down the road.
Sources: U.S. BLS, Calculated Risk, FRBA, WSJ, EBRI, Xerox, FRBSLPost author: Charles Couch