Monday, November 23, 2009

Unemployment and Establishment Jobs Growth at the State Level

From the BLS:

Regional and state unemployment rates were generally little changed or higher in October. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia recorded over-the-month unemployment rate increases, 13 states registered rate decreases, and 8 states had no rate change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the year, jobless rates increased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The national unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent in October, up 0.4 percentage point from September and 3.6 points from October 2008.

In October, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 28 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 21 states, and remained unchanged in 1 state. The largest over-the-month increase in employment occurred in Texas (+41,700), followed by Michigan (+38,600), California (+25,700), North Carolina (+12,100), and Pennsylvania (+10,600). Michigan experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment (+1.0 percent), followed by the District of Columbia (+0.8 percent), Montana (+0.7 percent), Oklahoma (+0.6 percent), and Utah (+0.5 percent). The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in New York (-15,300), followed by Florida (-8,500), Georgia (-7,500), Virginia (-7,100), and South Carolina (-5,800). Wyoming (-0.9 percent) experienced the largest over-the-month percentage decrease in employment, followed by Idaho and Nevada (-0.4 percent each), and South Carolina (-0.3 percent). Over the year, nonfarm employment decreased in all 50 states and increased in the District of Columbia. The largest over-the-year percentage decreases occurred in Arizona (-6.9 percent), Michigan (-6.4 percent), Nevada (-6.0 percent), Georgia (-5.6 percent), and Wyoming (-5.5 percent).

First, remember there are two employment surveys -- the establishment and the household; hence the divergence of results.

The unemployment numbers shouldn't surprise anyone. In last months employment report we saw an increase in the unemployment rate from 9.8% to 10.2%. However, the fact that a majority of states saw job growth is encouraging. Better yet, two states (California and Michigan) saw growth. These are states that have been hit hard by real estate (California) and the auto sector issues (Michigan).

Bottom line: the second part of the report is encouraging.