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News from EPI Most state labor markets improve in May, a handful continue to see rising unemployment and slow job growth

The State and Regional Employment report for May, released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed steady improvement in most states’ labor markets, while a handful of states continue to experience unemployment increases and slow job growth.

From February to May, 30 states and the District of Columbia added jobs, with North Dakota (1.0 percent), Utah (0.8 percent), District of Columbia (0.6 percent), Hawaii (0.6 percent) and Oregon (0.6 percent) making the largest percentage job gains. Over that same period, employment fell in 20 states. Of those states, West Virginia (-0.7 percent), Kansas (-0.6 percent), New Jersey (-0.6 percent), and Vermont (-0.6 percent) had the largest losses.

From February to May, the unemployment rate fell in 35 states. Tennessee (-1.3 percent), Michigan (-1.1 percent), Indiana (-0.9 percent), and Illinois (-0.8 percent) saw the largest declines unemployment. Over those same months, the unemployment rate increased in eight states and the District of Columbia. The largest increases in unemployment occurred in Massachusetts (0.8 percent), District of Columbia (0.3 percent), Connecticut (0.2 percent), Delaware (0.2 percent), and New Hampshire (0.2 percent). In seven states, the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged.

Figure 1

Current state unemployment rate and percent change in total number of jobs over last 12 months

State Current unemployment rate Change in unemployment rate in last 3 months Change in unemployment rate in last 12 months Change in unemployment rate since Dec. 2007 State unemployment rate ranking from lowest to highest Percent change in number of jobs in last 12 months Change in number of jobs in last 12 months Percent change in number of jobs in last 3 months Change in number of jobs in last 3 months Percent change in number of jobs since Dec. 2007 Change in number of jobs since Dec. 2007
Alabama 3.5% -0.3% -2.8% -0.9% 19 1.7% 34,100 0.3% 5,600 0.2% 4,400
Alaska 7.3% 0.1% 0.7% 0.9% 51 -0.7% -2200 -1.2% -3900 2.6% 8,200
Arizona 4.5% -0.2% -0.5% 0.1% 36 1.3% 35,000 0.1% 3,300 3.4% 90,900
Arkansas 3.7% 0.2% -0.2% -1.5% 22 0.9% 11,300 -0.5% -6500 3.4% 41,200
California 4.3% -0.8% -0.9% -1.7% 30 2.1% 342,500 0.9% 151,800 9.7% 1,502,600
Colorado 3.1% 0.6% 0.1% -1.0% 12 2.0% 53,200 0.5% 13,900 13.7% 321,000
Connecticut 4.6% 0.0% 0.2% -0.3% 41 0.5% 7700 -0.1% -2,000 -1.2% -20,100
Delaware 4.6% -0.3% 0.3% 0.9% 40 -0.1% -600 -0.7% -3300 3.0% 13,100
Washington D.C. 6.0% -0.5% 0.3% 0.3% 50 1.0% 8,000 0.2% 1500 13.6% 95,500
Florida 3.7% -0.1% -1.2% -1.2% 21 2.5% 213,500 2.1% 176,100 9.8% 774,100
Georgia 4.4% 0.0% -1.1% -0.7% 33 1.9% 83,200 0.5% 24,600 8.4% 348,600
Hawaii 2.0% -0.5% -0.9% -1.2% 1 1.1% 7,200 0.1% 700 5.0% 31,300
Idaho 2.9% 0.1% -0.7% -0.3% 7 2.1% 14,700 0.9% 6,800 10.1% 66,000
Illinois 4.8% -0.2% -0.9% -0.7% 45 0.5% 29,600 0.2% 13900 1.1% 65,700
Indiana 3.4% -0.4% -0.6% -1.4% 15 0.9% 27,600 0.2% 7,100 4.8% 142,900
Iowa 2.8% -0.4% -0.7% -0.9% 6 1.8% 28,300 0.8% 13,400 4.9% 74,900
Kansas 3.4% -0.4% -0.9% -0.9% 14 0.4% 6,300 0.6% 8,000 2.2% 30,000
Kentucky 4.4% -0.8% -0.4% -1.1% 32 1.1% 21,200 0.1% 1,200 5.1% 94,500
Louisiana 4.6% -0.5% -1.4% 0.5% 39 0.3% 5,500 -0.3% -6,000 2.0% 39,500
Maine 3.0% -0.7% -0.8% -1.9% 9 0.8% 5,000 0.2% 1,200 0.3% 1900
Maryland 4.0% 0.2% -0.2% 0.6% 24 1.1% 31,400 -0.7% -19,500 5.4% 141,700
Massachusetts 3.5% -0.4% 0.4% -1.1% 18 1.8% 63,000 0.3% 10,700 10.0% 330,600
Michigan 4.7% 0.4% -0.4% -2.6% 44 1.3% 57,100 0.4% 19,000 4.3% 180,600
Minnesota 3.1% -0.6% -0.9% -1.6% 11 1.3% 37,300 0.1% 3200 6.8% 189,000
Mississippi 4.6% -0.6% -0.9% -1.3% 38 1.6% 17,800 1.0% 11300 0.2% 2,500
Missouri 3.5% -0.3% -0.9% -1.9% 17 0.8% 22,800 0.2% 4,500 3.3% 92,200
Montana 4.1% 0.2% 0.1% -0.1% 28 1.8% 8,300 1.2% 5,900 7.5% 33,600
Nebraska 2.7% -0.1% -0.6% -0.3% 4 1.1% 10,900 -0.1% -1,200 6.7% 65,200
Nevada 5.0% 0.1% -0.1% -0.1% 47 3.3% 43,800 1.2% 16,000 5.6% 73,000
New Hampshire 2.6% -0.1% -0.1% -0.9% 3 0.8% 5,300 0.1% 800 4.5% 29,200
New Jersey 5.0% 0.3% 0.3% 0.4% 46 0.6% 22,900 0.1% 2,600 1.0% 40,500
New Mexico 6.0% -0.2% -0.7% 2.0% 49 1.2% 10,400 0.5% 4,200 -0.3% -2,400
New York 4.6% -0.3% -0.2% -0.3% 37 1.0% 98,300 0.2% 18,600 9.0% 787,300
North Carolina 4.5% 0.4% -0.7% -0.5% 35 1.7% 75,000 0.7% 29,800 6.9% 289,500
North Dakota 2.6% 0.2% -0.4% -0.5% 2 0.4% 1,800 -1.0% -4,600 20.3% 73,600
Ohio 4.7% -0.6% -0.3% -1.0% 43 0.7% 38,500 -0.1% -4,400 2.3% 124,100
Oklahoma 4.1% -0.4% -0.7% 0.5% 27 1.2% 20,400 0.2% 2600 4.0% 64,100
Oregon 4.1% -0.1% -0.4% -1.2% 26 2.7% 49,300 1.2% 22,300 9.4% 164,200
Pennsylvania 4.7% -0.1% -0.7% -0.1% 42 1.3% 78,400 0.3% 16,600 3.2% 183,200
Rhode Island 4.4% 0.2% -0.5% -1.7% 31 1.2% 6,000 0.3% 1,300 1.9% 9,500
South Carolina 4.1% 0.2% -0.2% -1.6% 25 2.2% 46,500 1.2% 24,800 8.6% 167,900
South Dakota 3.5% 0.1% 0.6% 0.8% 16 0.9% 4000 0.5% 2100 7.6% 31,200
Tennessee 3.2% 0.2% -1.9% -2.3% 13 1.0% 28,700 -0.1% -2,900 7.8% 218,200
Texas 3.9% -0.1% -0.9% -0.4% 23 2.5% 306,900 1.0% 121,300 17.8% 1,882,400
Utah 3.1% -0.3% -0.1% 0.1% 10 2.6% 37,900 0.5% 7,400 17.6% 222,100
Vermont 2.8% -0.1% -0.4% -1.4% 5 0.8% 2500 -0.4% -1200 2.6% 7,900
Virginia 3.7% 0.0% -0.4% 0.2% 20 0.8% 30,200 -0.3% -12,400 5.0% 189,500
Washington 4.5% -0.1% -0.6% -0.3% 34 2.1% 68,500 0.7% 23,500 12.1% 362,900
West Virginia 5.5% 0.4% -0.3% 0.8% 48 0.2% 1300 0.2% 1,200 -1.6% -12,100
Wisconsin 3.0% -0.5% -1.1% -1.8% 8 1.4% 40,200 0.4% 12,500 3.4% 96,900
Wyoming 4.2% 0.2% -0.6% 1.4% 29 0.4% 1,100 0.9% 2,400 -5.6% -16,400

Jobs refers to the total number of jobs, part-time or full-time, in non-farm establishments.

Source: EPI analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics' Local Area Unemployment Statistics data

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