January 2, 2009

US Unemployment Rates - November 2008

The November US unemployment figures were released recently. The figures, overall, are continuing to get worse. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Overall, the "official" national unemployment rate (U-3) increased by 0.2%, from 6.5% to 6.7%, over October's number. For the past twelve months, the national rate has increased 2.0%.
  • For the most inclusive unemployment rate measured (U-6), the increase was 0.7%, from 11.8% to 12.5%. For the past twelve months, U-6 has increased by 4.1%.
  • In terms of monthly change, the state with the largest increase was Oregon (again), with a 0.9% increase; North Carolina had the next largest increase, at 0.8%, and the District of Columbia and Indiana had increases of 0.7% each.
  • On an annual basis, the state with the largest increase continues to be Rhode Island with an increase of 4.1%. North Carolina has moved into second place, with an increase of 3.2%, and Georgia and Idaho are tied for third with increases of 3.0% each.
  • The states with the lowest annual increases are Nebraska at 0.4%, Iowa and South Dakota at 0.5%, Wisconsin at 0.8%, and Kansas, New Hampshire and Utah at 0.9%.
  • The state with the highest unemployment rate is Michigan, which increased 0.3% to 9.6%; Rhode Island, which was tied for the highest rate in October remained at 9.3% to place second. California and South Carolina are tied for third with a rate of 8.4%.
  • The states with the lowest unemployment rates continue to be Wyoming (3.2%), North Dakota (3.3%), and South Dakota (3.4%). Utah has been joined by Nebraska at 3.7% each.
  • In terms of non-farm payroll employment (i.e., number of jobs), the states with the biggest decreases since October were Florida (-58,600), North Carolina (-46,000), California (-41,700), Michigan (-36,900) and Georgia (-30,000).
  • For annual changes in non-farm payroll employment, the states with the biggest decreases are Florida (-206,900), California (-136,000), Michigan (-112,700), and Arizona (-82,200). Two states continue to have statistically significant increases over the past year: Texas (221,200; down 9,200 from October) and Wyoming (8,200; down 1,300).

The PDF version of the Bureau of Labor Statistics press release can be found here.

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