WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 25, 2012) — Regional and state unemployment rates were slightly lower in December. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rate decreases, 3 states posted rate increases, and 10 states had no rate change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Forty-six states registered unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, while four states and the District of Columbia experienced increases. The national jobless rate, 8.5 percent, continued to trend down in December and was 0.9 percentage point lower than in December 2010.
In December, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 25 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 24 states, and was unchanged in 1 state. The largest over-the-month increase in employment occurred in Texas (+20,200), followed by Indiana (+15,100) and California (+10,700). The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in New York (-14,000), followed by Missouri (-11,800) and Washington (-11,600). South Dakota experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment (+1.1 percent), followed by North Dakota (+0.9 percent) and Indiana, Kentucky, and Utah (+0.5 percent each). Nevada experienced the largest over-the-month percentage decline in employment (-0.9 percent), followed by Alaska (-0.5 percent) and Maine, Missouri, and Washington (-0.4 percent each).
Over the year, nonfarm employment increased in 46 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 4 states. The largest over-the-year percentage increase occurred in North Dakota (+5.7 percent), followed by Utah (+3.0 percent) and Oklahoma (+2.7 percent). The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred in Delaware (-0.7 percent), followed by Alaska (-0.5 percent) and Georgia (-0.4 percent).
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