35 States See Employment Decrease in December

January 28, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - In December 2010, nonfarm payroll employment decreased in 35 states and the District of Columbia and increased in 15 states, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The largest over-the-month employment decreases were in New York (-22,800), Minnesota (-22,400),  Florida (-17,900), and Georgia (-17,500). The largest over-the-month percentage decreases in employment occurred in Minnesota (-0.8%), Alabama and Hawaii (-0.7% each), and Delaware and Georgia (-0.5% each).   

The BLS data showed the largest over-the-month increases in employment occurred in Texas (+20,000) and South Carolina (+9,000). The largest over-the-month percentage increases in employment were in Idaho (+0.6%), Montana and South Carolina (+0.5% each), and Alaska (+0.4%).   

However, over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 42 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 8 states. The largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment was reported in the District of Columbia (+3.2%), followed by Texas (+2.3%), New Hampshire (+2.1%), North Dakota (+1.7%), and Massachusetts (+1.5%). The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred in Nevada (-1.5%), followed by New Jersey (-0.8%), Missouri (-0.6%), and Rhode Island (-0.5%).  

The West reported the highest regional unemployment rate in December, 10.9%, while the Northeast recorded the lowest rate, 8.4%. The Midwest was the only region to experience a statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate change (-0.3 percentage point). Two of the four regions registered significant rate changes from a year earlier: the Midwest (-1.1 percentage points) and Northeast (-0.6 point).   

Nevada continued to register the highest unemployment rate among the states, 14.5% in December. The states with the next highest rates were California, 12.5%, and Florida, 12%.   

North Dakota reported the lowest jobless rate, 3.8%, followed by Nebraska and South Dakota, 4.4% and 4.6%, respectively. In total 25 states posted jobless rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 9.4%, eight states recorded measurably higher rates, and 17 states and the District of Columbia had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.  

The BLS data is here.