State Unemployment Changes Mixed In October

Today, the Department of Labor Statistics released its state-by-state unemployment statistics for October. The national unemployment rate increased significantly in October, rising from 9.8% to 10.2%. But only 30 states (including DC) saw an increase in thier unemployment rates, while 13 saw a decline. The other eight states' rates were unchanged. Some states' results are surprising, but others are more predictable.

First, there's good news for a few of the usual suspects. Ailing Michigan and Nevada were actually in the top five for the highest declines in unemployed, with 7,000 and 6,100 fewer jobless, respectively. That decreased Michigan's unemployment percentage by 0.2% from 15.3% to 15.1% -- still the highest in the U.S. Similarly, Nevada's rate decreased by 0.3% to 13%, and also continues to rank second highest. Massachusetts, West Virginia and New Hampshire were the biggest winners by percentage, seeing their unemployment rates decline by 0.4%.

Then, there were the losers. Unfortunately, Florida and California are still seeing their unemployment numbers increase. Those states were in the top six highest increases in unemployed, with 8,700 and 36,000 more jobless, respectively. Luckily, given the sizes of those states, that did not affect their unemployment percentages too drastically, raising the rate in California by 0.2% to 12.5% and in Florida by 0.1% to 11.2%. In terms of percentage, the worst hit states in October were Wyoming, Alaska and Illinois who all saw their rates jump by 0.6%. Arkansas, Mississippi and the District of Columbia also had a bad month, with their rates rising by 0.5%.

Incredibly, North Dakota's unemployment rate is still a just 4.2%, the best in the nation. Nebraska and South Dakota aren't much worse at 4.9% and 5% respectively.

Here's the whole picture, from BLS:

oct st umemp.PNG

As you can see, from an employment perspective it remains pretty good to live in the center of the map.