The latest regional job report from the U.S. Department of Labor revealed that total nonfarm employment in October increased in Texas (+30,100), Maryland (+10,700), Utah (+6,700), and Nebraska (+5,200). Michigan was the only state to experience a month-over-month decline in employment in October (-21,800) but this was likely a temporary setback due to the GM autoworkers strike. In terms of annual payrolls growth, the largest percentage gains occurred in Utah (+3.2 percent), Florida (+2.6 percent), and Arizona (+2.5 percent), and no states have experienced a year-over-year decline in total employment.
As for joblessness, the unemployment rate fell in four states in October, increased in two states, and was essentially unchanged everywhere else. The rates of joblessness set new record lows in Alabama (2.8 percent), California (3.9 percent), Maine (2.8 percent), and South Carolina (2.6 percent) in October, and Vermont once again had the lowest unemployment rate in the country (2.2 percent). Only twelve states last month had a rate of joblessness that was higher than the national level (3.6 percent). For an additional comparison, during the worst part of the “Great Recession” eleven states had an unemployment rate that exceeded 11 percent, while the highest rate of joblessness in the entire country last month was just 6.2 percent (Alaska).
Sources: U.S. DoL