Are You Lucky Enough to be Living Where Employment is Rising?

employmentBelieve it or not, in January, nonfarm payroll employment actually increased in 31 states and the District of Columbia. The five states with the biggest employment increase are:

  1. California(+32,500)
  2. Illinois (+26,000)
  3. New York (+25,500)
  4. Washington (+18,900)
  5. Minnesota (+15,600).

That's great news for the unemployed in those states, but the cheering is a little less enthusiastic in the 18 states where the number of jobs decreased in January. The states with the largest over-the-month decreases in employment are:

  1. Missouri and Ohio (-12,800 each)
  2. Kentucky (-11,800)
  3. New Jersey (-9,100)
  4. Florida (-6,100)
  5. Nevada (-5,700)

The numbers for the entirety of 2009 are also sobering. Over the year, nonfarm employment decreased in 48 states and increased in two states and the District of Columbia. The states with the largest over-the-year percentage decreases are:

  1. Nevada (-6.9 percent)
  2. Arizona (-5.4 percent)
  3. Wyoming (-5.0 percent)
  4. California (-4.8 percent)

Region by Region

It's not exactly a great time to heed the advice, "Go West, young man!" In fact, in January, the West reported the highest regional jobless rate at 10.8 percent, while the Northeast re-corded the lowest rate at 9.1 percent, making the frigid winter weather a little more endurable for some. However, for the year, all four regions registered significant jobless rate increases, the largest of which were in the South and West, each growing by 2.2 percent.

Among the nine geographic divisions, the Pacific continued to report the highest jobless rate, 11.7 percent in January. The East North Central division recorded the next highest rate, 11.3 percent. The West North Central division registered the lowest January jobless rate, 7.2 percent, followed by the West South Central division, 8.0 percent. But when you take a look at the numbers for all of 2009, all nine divisions reported significant over-the-year rate increases in the jobless rate, of at least 0.8 percentage point. The largest increases occurred in the East North Central and Pacific (+2.4 percentage points each).

State by State

It's not exactly a news flash that times are still tough in Michigan, which again recorded the highest unemployment rate among the states in January. The states with the highest unemployment rates are:

  1. Michigan, 14.3 percent
  2. Nevada, 13.0 percent
  3. Rhode Island, 12.7 percent
  4. South Carolina, 12.6 percent
  5. California, 12.5 percent

The rates in California and South Carolina set new series highs, as did the rates in three other states: Florida (11.9 percent), Georgia (10.4 percent), and North Carolina (11.1 percent).The rate in the District of Columbia (12.0 percent) also set a new series high.

North Dakota continued to register the lowest jobless rate, 4.2 percent in January, followed by Nebraska and South Dakota, 4.6 and 4.8 percent, respectively. In total, 25 states posted jobless rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 9.7 percent.

Even the best of these figures don't do much to cheer up the unemployed, but at least they can take heart in the fact that they are in vast and good company. Sure the numbers for 2009 are abysmal, but starting in January 2010, things are starting to look up in at least 31 states.

Next:The Unemployment Rate Explained >>

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