More than one-third of U.S. states saw either a drop or no change in unemployment rates or no changes in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistic reported Friday.
Twenty-two states reported unemployment rate decreases, while 16 states and the District of Columbia had no change. One dozen states posted little increase from the previous month. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rate decreases from a year ago, while 10 had increases and three reported no change.
The national jobless rate is 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 in January and a four-year low. It is an 0.6 percentage point lower than in February 2012, the BLS reported.
On the jobs front, 42 states reported an increase in jobs, while eight states and the District of Columbia posted decreases. Texas saw the largest month-to-month employment increases (80,600) followed by California (41,200). The largest month-to-month decreases were reported in Connecticut (5,700) and Nevada (5,500).
Utah had the largest month-to-month percentage increase in employment (1.4 percent), followed by Idaho (0.8 percent) and Texas (0.7 percent). Rhode Island and Nevada had the largest over-the-month percentage declines in employment, 0.6 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
Over the course of the year, jobs increased in 49 states and the District and Columbia. Wyoming was the only state that saw a drop in jobs.
In February, the West continued to have the highest regional unemployment rate, 8.5 percent, while the South had the lowest, 7.3 percent
North Dakota, flush with plentiful oil and gas jobs, continues to enjoy bragging rights to nation’s lowest jobless rate, 3.3 percent, while California, Mississippi and Nevada posted the highest, 9.6 percent each. In total, 22 states had jobless rates significantly lower than the national figure of 7.7 percent, while 11 states had measurably higher jobless rates and 17 states and the District of Columbia had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the rest of the nation.
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.