WASHINGTON (June 15, 2012) — Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in May. Eighteen states recorded unemployment rate increases, 14 states and the District of Columbia posted rate decreases, and 18 states 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, at 8.2 percent, was essentially unchanged from April, and 0.8 percentage point lower than May 2011.
In May 2012, non-farm payroll employment increased in 27 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 22 states, and was unchanged in Maine. The largest over-the-month increase in employment occurred in California (+33,900), followed by Ohio (+19,600) and New Jersey (+17,600). The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in North Carolina (-16,500), followed by Pennsylvania (-9,900) and Maryland (-7,500). Vermont experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment (+1.1 percent), followed by Montana (+0.9 percent) and Nebraska (+0.7 percent). Alaska experienced the largest over-the-month percentage decline in employment (-0.8 percent), followed by New Mexico (-0.6 percent) and Delaware and Hawaii (-0.5 percent each). Over the year, non-farm employment increased in 43 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 7 states. The largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment occurred in North Dakota (+6.8 percent). The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred in Rhode Island (-0.8 percent).
Regional unemployment (seasonally adjusted)
The West continued to record the highest regional unemployment rate in May, 9.4 percent, while the Midwest again reported the lowest rate, 7.2 percent. Over the month, no region experienced a statistically significant unemployment rate change. In contrast, significant over-the-year rate changes occurred in three regions: the Midwest and South (-1.2 percentage points each) and West (-1.1 points).
Among the nine geographic divisions, the Pacific continued to report the highest jobless rate, 10.1 percent in May. The West North Central again registered the lowest rate, 5.8 percent. No division recorded a statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate change. Eight divisions had measurable rate changes from a year earlier, all of which were decreases. The largest of these over-the-year declines occurred in the East South Central (-1.6 percentage points).
State unemployment (seasonally adjusted)
Nevada continued to record the highest unemployment rate among the states, 11.6 percent in May. Rhode Island and California posted the next highest rates, 11.0 and 10.8 percent, respectively. North Dakota again registered the lowest jobless rate, 3.0 percent, followed by Nebraska, 3.9 percent. In total, 27 states reported jobless rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 8.2 percent, 5 states and the District of Columbia had measurably higher rates, and 18 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.
No state experienced a statistically significant unemployment rate change over the month. However, 28 states reported statistically significant rate changes from a year earlier, all of which were decreases. The largest of these occurred in Michigan and Nevada (-2.1 percentage points each) and Florida and Mississippi (-2.0 points each).
Non-farm payroll employment (seasonally adjusted)
In May, 14 states recorded statistically significant over-the-month changes in employment, 9 of which were increases. The largest statistically significant job gains occurred in California (+33,900), Ohio (+19,600), and New Jersey (+17,600).
Over the year, 23 states and the District of Columbia experienced statistically significant changes in employment, all of which were increases. The largest increase occurred in Texas (+237,100), followed by California (+221,500) and New York (+131,500).