(March 30, 2012) — Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in February. Twenty-nine states recorded unemployment rate decreases, 8 states posted rate increases, and 13 states and the District of Columbia had no change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia registered unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, while only one state experienced an increase. The national jobless rate was unchanged from January at 8.3 percent but was 0.7 percentage point lower than in February 2011.
In February, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 42 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 8 states. The largest over-the-month increase in employment occurred in Ohio (+28,300), followed by Texas (+27,900) and New York (+24,700). The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in Nevada (-12,800), followed by Georgia (-8,300), Oregon (-6,400), and Kansas (-5,700). North Dakota experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment (+1.3 percent), followed by Alaska and Wyoming (+0.7 percent each). Nevada experienced the largest over-the-month percentage decline in employment (-1.1 percent), followed by New Hampshire (-0.6 percent). Over the year, nonfarm employment increased in 43 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 7 states. The largest over-the-year percentage increase occurred in North Dakota (+6.8 percent). The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred in Wisconsin (-0.6 percent).
Regional Unemployment (Seasonally Adjusted)
The West continued to record the highest regional unemployment rate in February, 9.6 percent, while the Midwest again reported the lowest rate, 7.5 percent. Over the month, the Midwest and South experienced statistically significant unemployment rate changes (-0.2 percentage point each). Over the year, the West registered the largest of three measurable rate changes (-1.0 percentage point), followed by the Midwest and South (-0.9 point each).
Among the nine geographic divisions, the Pacific continued to report the highest jobless rate, 10.2 percent in February. The West North Central again registered the lowest rate, 5.9 percent. Two divisions experienced statistically significant unemployment rate changes over the month: the East North Central (-0.2 percentage point) and South Atlantic (-0.1 point). Eight divisions had measurable unemployment rate declines from a year earlier, the largest of which occurred in the East South Central (-1.4 percentage points). No division recorded an unemployment rate increase from February 2011.
State Unemployment (Seasonally Adjusted)
Nevada continued to record the highest unemployment rate among the states, 12.3 percent in February. Rhode Island and California posted the next highest rates, 11.0 and 10.9 percent, respectively. North Dakota again registered the lowest jobless rate, 3.1 percent, followed by Nebraska, 4.0 percent. In total, 23 states reported jobless rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 8.3 percent, 6 states and the District of Columbia had measurably higher rates, and 21 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.
Mississippi and Nevada experienced the largest over-the-month unemployment rate declines in February (-0.5 and -0.4 percentage point, respectively). Five other states also had statistically significant rate decreases: Illinois, Indiana, Montana, and North Carolina (-0.3 percentage point each) and Florida (-0.2 point). The only significant rate increase was recorded in New York (+0.2 percentage point). The remaining 42 states and the District of Columbia recorded jobless rates that were not measurably different from those of a month earlier, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes.
Michigan registered the largest jobless rate decrease from February 2011 (-1.9 percentage points), followed by Alabama (-1.7 points). Nineteen additional states reported smaller but also statistically significant declines over the year. The remaining 29 states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rates that were not appreciably different from those of a year earlier.
Nonfarm Payroll Employment (Seasonally Adjusted)
In February, 17 states recorded statistically significant over-the-month changes in employment, 13 of which were increases. The largest statistically significant job gains occurred in Ohio (+28,300), Texas (+27,900), and New York (+24,700). The largest statistically significant decline in employment occurred in Nevada (-12,800), followed by Oregon (-6,400) and Kansas (-5,700).
Over the year, 28 states experienced statistically significant changes in employment, all of which were increases. The largest increase occurred in Texas (+273,900), followed by New York (+141,300) and California (+127,300).
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