The States of Unemployment

It's not quite time to put on your party hat and start singing "We're in the Money," but the recently released monthly employment statistics do shine a little ray of hope. It seems that 36 states and the District of Columbia posted unemployment rate decreases between October and November, and only eight states registered increases. In six states there was no rate change.

November was especially ugly in four states, which registered a 12% or higher unemployment rates, with Michigan leading the pack at a whopping 14.7 percent. It's followed by California, Nevada and South Carolina, which all had 12.3 percent unemployment. Averaged by region, the West reported the highest regional jobless rate at 10.6 percent, while the Northeast recorded the lowest rate at 8.7 percent.

You're going to have to bundle up and buy some heavy boots if you want to go where the job getting is good. North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate, at 4.1, followed by Nebraska at 4.5, and South Dakota at 5.0. Kansas and Utah also have unemployment rates among the lowest, at 6.3, and Vermont and Montana are just a smidge ahead, at 6.4.

Overall the national unemployment rate edged down in November to 10.0 percent, 0.2 of a percentage point lower than October. But every silver lining has a cloud: National unemployment rates were 3.2 percentage points higher than in November 2008.

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