March 12, 2009

US Unemployment Rates - January 2009

The January US regional and state unemployment figures were released on March 11th. The figures, overall, continue to get worse, although there was one minor bright spot in the District of Columbia. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Overall, the "official" national unemployment rate (U-3) increased by 0.4%, from 7.2% to 7.6%, over December's number. For the past twelve months, the national rate has increased 2.7%.
  • For the most inclusive unemployment rate measured (U-6), the increase was 0.4%, from 13.5% to 13.9%. For the past twelve months, U-6 has increased by 4.9%.
  • In terms of monthly change, the states with the largest increases were North Carolina, Oregon, and South Carolina, all with a 1.6% increase; four states had a 1.4% increase, California, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, while three states had a 1.3% increase, Alabama, Maine and Washington.
  • On an annual basis, two states tied for the largest increase, North Carolina and South Carolina, both at 4.7%. The next three are Oregon (4.6%), Indiana (4.4%), and Michigan (4.3%).
  • The states with the lowest annual increases are Iowa at 0.9%, Wyoming at 1.0%, and North Dakota and West Virginia at 1.2%.
  • The state with the highest unemployment rate is Michigan, which increased 1.4% to 11.6%; South Carolina comes in second with a rate of 10.4% (up 1.6%), and Rhode Island places third with a rate of 10.3% (up 0.9%). California also has a double-digit unemployment rate of 10.1%, up 1.4%.
  • The states with the lowest unemployment rates continue to be Wyoming (3.7%, up 0.3%), North Dakota (4.2%, up 0.7%), Nebraska (4.3%, up 0.3%) and South Dakota (4.4%, up 0.5%).
  • In terms of non-farm payroll employment (i.e., number of jobs), the states with the biggest decreases since December were California (-79,300), Michigan (-60,800), Ohio (-59,600) and Texas (-50,600).
  • The one bright spot in terms of non-farm payroll employment was an increase in the number of jobs in the District of Columbia, up 5,800 (perhaps due to the change in administration and a corresponding ripple effect through the local economy).
  • For annual changes in non-farm payroll employment, the states with the biggest decreases are California (-494,000), Florida (-355,700), Michigan (-263,800), and Ohio (-214,600). Wyoming is the only state that continues to have a positive annual change in employment, up 7,000 jobs for the year.

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

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