State-By-State Unemployment Mixed, Mostly Unchanged

This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly regional and state unemployment report. The July data isn't exactly good news, but the results are somewhat mixed. Compared to June, 26 states reported unemployment rate increases, while 17 states showed decreases and 7 states were unchanged. Unfortunately, that unemployment data does not reflect discouraged workers, as this report does not track that. So it's hard to put this into perspective. But let's go through some highlights.

First, there are two nice charts included in the report. Here's the first one, which shows the unemployment rate per state in map format:

state unemp map.PNG

Here's another map showing the change in the unemployment rate since July 2008:

state unemp change map.PNG

This blurb provides some information about the worst states for employment:

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia reported jobless rates of at least 10.0 percent in July. Michigan continued to have the highest unemployment rate among the states, 15.0 percent. Rhode Island recorded the next highest rate, 12.7 percent, followed by Nevada, 12.5 percent; California and Oregon, 11.9 percent each; and South Carolina, 11.8 percent. The rates in California, Nevada, and Rhode Island set new series highs, along with the rate in Georgia (10.3 percent).

There are some pretty ugly numbers in there. But again, it's good to live in North Dakota:

North Dakota again registered the lowest jobless rate, 4.2 percent in July.

Additionally, I went ahead and calculated which states had the most significant changes in their seasonally adjusted unemployment rates from June to July. The largest change was a 0.6% increase, found in Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Wyoming. Arizona's unemployment rate increased by 0.5%. Idaho, Kansas and Texas all saw their unemployment rate increase by 0.4%. On the other side of the coin, Vermont saw its unemployment rate decrease the most, by 0.5%. Three other states, South Carolina, Hawaii and Minnesota all had 0.3% decreases in their unemployment rates. So did Washington, DC.

The report also includes regional unemployment rates, which are pretty interesting to note. The best region for employment is the Northeast, with an unemployment rate of 8.7%, below the national average of 9.4%. The South matches the national rate at 9.4%. The Midwest and West are the worst regions for unemployment, with rates of 10.2% and 10.5%, respectively. In the West, unemployment also increased the most among the regions, by 0.2%. The rate actually decreased in the Midwest by 0.1%.

Since the national unemployment rate changed so little from June to July, from 9.5% to 9.4%, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the state rates are largely unchanged as well. Still, some states clearly seem to be on better roads to recovery than others.