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 nine states had statistically significant month-over-month increases in nonfarm payroll employment in November, and two states had significant decreases. The largest absolute gains in employment last month occurred in Florida (+29,600), Indiana (+13,100), and South Carolina (+12,500), while the biggest declines were found in Virginia (-13,600) and Colorado (-12,500). Florida has been one of the strongest states for nonfarm payroll growth in recent years (+263,900 in just the past twelve months), helped largely by its relative outperformance in the manufacturing arena.
As for joblessness, eighteen states last month had statistically significant unemployment rate decreases, and no states had a notable increase. Compared to a year ago, nine states had statistically significant unemployment rate decreases, with the largest decline being found in Massachusetts (-2.0 percentage points). Oklahoma and Pennsylvania were the only states with significant unemployment rate increases over the past year (+1.0 percentage point each). The lowest unemployment rate in the country in November could be found in New Hampshire and South Dakota (both at 2.7 percent), while Alaska and New Mexico had the highest rate of joblessness last month (6.7 percent). For comparison, the national rate of unemployment (U-3) was 4.6 percent in November. Overall, joblessness in America continues to decline, albeit at a slower pace as the country nears full employment. This has also increased the competition for skilled workers, and a recent survey conducted by Xerox HR Services even found that the highest priority for employers in 2017 is retaining top talent. This “tightening” of the labor market should be supportive of faster wage growth going forward.
Sources: Econoday, Bloomberg, U.S. DoL, EBN, Calculated Risk, FRBSLPost author: Charles Couch