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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 3.6% -0.9% -2.5% -0.8% 20 1.5% 29,200 0.2% 4,500 -0.1% -1,200
Alaska 7.2% 0.2% 0.6% 0.8% 51 0.1% 300 -0.2% (800) 3.7% 11,900
Arizona 4.5% -0.6% -0.5% 0.1% 36 1.2% 31,500 0.7% 18,600 3.1% 83,000
Arkansas 3.6% 0.2% -0.4% -1.6% 19 1.9% 23,500 -0.1% (900) 4.2% 50,800
California 4.9% 0.1% -0.4% -1.1% 44 1.5% 256,800 0.4% 74,300 8.9% 1,382,500
Colorado 2.7% 0.3% -0.4% -1.4% 5 1.4% 37,800 0.3% 8,100 13.1% 308,500
Connecticut 4.5% -0.5% -0.1% -0.4% 35 0.1% 1,400 -0.6% (10,500) -1.4% -24,700
Delaware 4.8% 0.0% 0.5% 1.1% 40 0.7% 3,200 0.2% 800 3.7% 16,400
Washington D.C. 6.6% 0.2% 0.8% 0.9% 50 0.9% 7,400 -0.3% (2,700) 13.4% 93,700
Florida 3.6% -0.5% -1.3% -1.3% 18 2.3% 197,500 0.3% 25,300 9.1% 723,300
Georgia 4.3% -0.4% -1.1% -0.8% 31 2.0% 87,800 0.4% 19,700 8.1% 339,800
Hawaii 2.2% -0.5% -0.7% -1.0% 1 1.1% 7,100 0.0% (300) 4.8% 30,100
Idaho 2.9% -0.1% -0.8% -0.3% 7 2.4% 16,700 1.1% 7,700 9.6% 62,800
Illinois 4.9% 0.1% -0.9% -0.6% 43 0.3% 17,800 -0.1% (7,100) 0.9% 55,200
Indiana 3.9% 0.8% -0.3% -0.9% 26 0.9% 29,400 0.1% 3,400 4.6% 136,700
Iowa 3.0% -0.2% -0.6% -0.7% 9 0.9% 13,500 -0.1% (1,100) 4.0% 61,500
Kansas 3.6% -0.1% -0.7% -0.7% 17 -0.4% -5,200 0.4% 6,000 1.5% 20,300
Kentucky 5.0% -0.4% 0.1% -0.5% 46 1.5% 28,600 0.5% 10,400 4.9% 91,400
Louisiana 4.8% -0.5% -1.3% 0.7% 39 0.4% 8,600 -0.2% (4,100) 2.2% 42,700
Maine 3.5% -0.2% -0.4% -1.4% 15 0.8% 5,200 -0.5% (3,300) 0.1% 500
Maryland 3.8% -0.2% -0.4% 0.4% 22 2.0% 54,400 0.4% 12,100 5.9% 155,700
Massachusetts 3.7% -0.6% 0.5% -0.9% 21 1.9% 69,000 0.6% 23,100 9.8% 324,700
Michigan 4.5% 0.8% -0.5% -2.8% 34 1.0% 45,100 0.4% 18,900 3.9% 164,600
Minnesota 3.3% -0.4% -0.7% -1.4% 11 1.5% 42,600 -0.1% (3,700) 6.5% 181,300
Mississippi 4.9% -0.3% -0.8% -1.0% 42 0.6% 6,500 0.0% 100 -0.6% -6,700
Missouri 3.5% -0.3% -1.1% -1.9% 14 1.1% 30,700 -0.3% (9,400) 3.2% 88,700
Montana 3.9% 0.0% -0.1% -0.3% 25 1.2% 5,800 0.5% 2,200 6.5% 29,000
Nebraska 2.7% -0.1% -0.6% -0.3% 4 1.0% 9,800 -0.2% (2,200) 6.2% 59,800
Nevada 5.0% 0.2% -0.3% -0.1% 45 2.8% 36,600 0.5% 6,700 4.6% 59,800
New Hampshire 2.7% -0.1% -0.1% -0.8% 3 0.9% 6,300 0.0% 200 4.8% 30,900
New Jersey 4.9% 0.7% 0.1% 0.3% 41 0.7% 30,000 -0.1% (3,500) 1.0% 39,600
New Mexico 6.1% -0.2% -0.7% 2.1% 49 1.6% 13,200 1.3% 10,500 -0.6% -5,200
New York 4.8% 0.1% -0.1% -0.1% 38 1.1% 102,600 -0.3% (24,400) 8.6% 754,100
North Carolina 4.1% 0.0% -1.0% -0.9% 27 1.7% 75,200 0.6% 24,700 6.5% 271,100
North Dakota 2.5% 0.2% -0.5% -0.6% 2 0.6% 2,600 -0.7% (3,300) 21.0% 76,000
Ohio 5.1% -0.1% 0.1% -0.6% 48 1.1% 59,400 0.2% 10,900 2.5% 132,800
Oklahoma 4.4% 0.0% -0.5% 0.8% 32 1.2% 20,200 0.4% 7,100 4.1% 65,700
Oregon 4.3% 0.5% -0.4% -1.0% 30 2.5% 46,300 0.2% 3,500 8.8% 153,500
Pennsylvania 4.7% -0.3% -0.8% -0.1% 37 1.1% 65,800 0.2% 12,100 2.8% 162,300
Rhode Island 4.2% -0.1% -0.9% -1.9% 29 0.9% 4,600 -0.8% (3,900) 1.6% 8,000
South Carolina 3.9% 0.0% -0.5% -1.8% 24 2.1% 42,500 0.7% 13,800 7.9% 153,200
South Dakota 3.5% 0.4% 0.6% 0.8% 13 0.1% 600 -0.2% (800) 6.5% 26,700
Tennessee 3.0% -0.4% -2.0% -2.5% 8 1.2% 34,800 0.1% 4,000 7.8% 218,800
Texas 3.9% -0.4% -0.9% -0.4% 23 2.6% 316,100 0.5% 66,500 17.4% 1,832,600
Utah 3.3% -0.2% 0.1% 0.3% 10 2.7% 39,000 0.9% 13,300 17.1% 216,500
Vermont 2.9% -0.2% -0.3% -1.3% 6 1.0% 3200 0.2% 500 2.8% 8,600
Virginia 3.6% -0.2% -0.5% 0.1% 16 0.9% 33,700 -0.1% (5,900) 5.2% 196,100
Washington 4.5% 0.0% -0.8% -0.3% 33 2.1% 68,500 0.6% 21,300 11.6% 346,300
West Virginia 5.1% 0.4% -0.8% 0.4% 47 0.4% 3200 0.2% 1,400 -1.5% -11,500
Wisconsin 3.4% 0.2% -0.8% -1.4% 12 1.4% 42,400 0.5% 15,600 3.3% 94,900
Wyoming 4.2% 0.2% -0.8% 1.4% 28 -0.5% -1,400 -0.5% (1,400) -6.4% -18,700

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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