The West is the Worst Region for Jobs ... Again

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unemployment in the west The unemployment situation across the United States changed very little in December, but the West is still the worst region to find a job, having the highest regional unemployment rate in the country at 10.9 percent, according to recently released numbers from the Department of Labor Statistics. The Pacific division continued to report the highest jobless rate, 11.6 percent in December.

The Northeast recorded the lowest unemployment rate, at 8.4 percent. The Midwest was the only region to experience a significant over-the-month unemployment rate change, down 0.3 percent. The good news is that two of the four regions registered significant rate changes from a year earlier: the Midwest, down 1.1 percent and the Northeast, down 0.6 percent. It isn't much of an improvement, but at least the numbers in those regions are headed in the right direction.

Nevada continued to register the highest unemployment rate among the states, at 14.5 percent in December. The states with the next highest rates were California with 12.5 percent, and Florida, with 12.0 percent. North Dakota reported the lowest jobless rate at 3.8 percent, followed by Nebraska and South Dakota, at 4.4 and 4.6 percent respectively.

The states that gained the most jobs in December were Texas (+20,000) and South Carolina (+9,000). The states that lost the most jobs were New York (-22,800), Minnesota (-22,400), Florida (-17,900), and Georgia (-17,500).

Overall, state unemployment rates were pretty much flat in December. Twenty states recorded unemployment rate increases, 15 states and the District of Columbia registered rate decreases, and 15 states had no rate change at all.

Year-to-year comparisons show the recovery is creeping up on us. We were in better shape in December 2010 than we were in December 2009. The national jobless rate fell by 0.4 percent between November and December to 9.4 percent, half a point lower than December the previous year.

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