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Nation Unemployment Rates Little Changed in October

Which states have the highest and lowest unemployment rates?

| BY Donald Liebenson

The western region of the United States again posted the nation’s highest regional unemployment rate, 9 percent, in October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.

The Midwest posted the lowest unemployment rate, 7.3 percent, which is below the national jobless rate of 7.9 percent. The unemployment rate in the South dropped 0.2 of a percentage point. Year to year, the unemployment rates in the South and West dropped 1.1 percentage points each and 0.9 point in the Midwest.

Thirty seven-states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rate drops last month, while seven states posted increases. Six states recorded no change. This is all of little change from the previous month.

The national unemployment rate edged up from 7.8 percent last month as more unemployed Americans resumed job searches. The economy added 171,000 jobs in October, while the labor force increased by 578,000.

Which states had the highest and lowest unemployment rates in October? Nevada continues to record the nation’s highest with 11.5 percent, followed by Rhode Island (10.4 percent) and California (10.1 percent). The unemployment rate is lowest in North Dakota (3.1 percent).

In total, the USBL reported, 23 states reported jobless rates significantly lower than the national unemployment rate, while 10 states posted rates “measurably higher.” Seventeen states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

The unemployment rate fell most dramatically in South Carolina (from 9.1 percent to 8.6 percent), followed by Alaska (from 7.5 percent to 7.1 percent) and Wisconsin (from 7.3 percent to 6.9 percent).

Nevada posted the largest year-over-year unemployment rate decrease, 1.9 percent, followed by the District of Columbia and Mississippi (1.8 percent each).

Nonfarm payroll employment increased in October in 35 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 15 states. California added 45,800 jobs in October, the largest over-the-month increase, followed by Texas (36,000 jobs) and Georgia (16,100 jobs). Michigan posted the largest over-the-month job losses with 16,500, followed by New Jersey (11,700) and Minnesota (8,100).

Over the year, only West Virginia employment decreased (an 11,000 job loss), while the largest job increases over this period occurred in California (293,300), Texas (277,400) and New York (134,500).

About the Author

Donald Liebenson

Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.  

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.