- By David M. Kinchen
Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in February, according to a report released Friday, March 29, 2013 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Twenty-two states had unemployment rate decreases, 12 states had increases, and 16 states and the District of Columbia had no change, according to the report.
Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, 10 states had increases, and 3 states had no change. The national jobless rate, 7.7 percent, edged down from January and was 0.6 percentage point lower than in February 2012.
Regional Unemployment (Seasonally Adjusted)
In February, the West continued to have the highest regional unemployment rate, 8.5 percent, while the South had the lowest rate, 7.3 percent. No region had a statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate change. Significant over-the-year rate changes occurred in two regions: the West (-1.0 percentage point) and South (-0.6 point). (See table 1.)
Among the nine geographic divisions, the Pacific continued to have the highest jobless rate, 9.1 percent in February. The West North Central again had the lowest rate, 5.5 percent. No division had a statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate change. Four divisions had significant rate changes from a year earlier, all of which were decreases. The largest of these declines occurred in the Pacific (-1.1 percentage points).
State Unemployment (Seasonally Adjusted)
California, Mississippi, and Nevada had the highest unemployment rates among the states in February, 9.6 percent each. North Dakota again had the lowest jobless rate, 3.3 percent. In total, 22 states had jobless rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 7.7 percent, 11 states had measurably higher rates, and 17 states and the District of Columbia had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation. (See tables A and 3 and chart 1.)
Four states had statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate declines in February: Rhode Island (-0.4 percentage point), Vermont (-0.3 point), and California and New Jersey (-0.2 point each). Two states had significant rate increases over the month: Illinois (+0.5 percentage point) and Wisconsin (+0.2 point). The remaining 44 states and the District of Columbia had 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.
Nevada had the largest jobless rate decline from February 2012 (-2.2 percentage points). Seven additional states had smaller but also statistically significant decreases over the year: Florida and Idaho (-1.3 percentage points each); California (-1.2 points); Colorado and Hawaii (-1.0 point each); Washington (-0.9 point); and Texas (-0.7 point). The remaining 42 states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rates that were not appreciably different from those of a year earlier.
Nonfarm Payroll Employment (Seasonally Adjusted)
In February 2013, 21 states had statistically significant over-the-month changes in employment, 19 of which were increases. The largest statistically significant job gains occurred in Texas (+80,600) and California (+41,200). The two statistically significant employment decreases occurred in Connecticut (-5,700) and Rhode Island (-2,600). (See table B.)
Over the year, 35 states had statistically significant changes in employment, all of which were positive. The largest over-the-year job increase occurred in Texas (+359,800), followed by California (+293,800) and Florida (+128,100).