Monthly state employment data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that states throughout the country reflect the trends evident in the national economy.
Between September 2012 and December 2012, nine states and the District of Columbia experienced declines in overall employment, compared with 12 in last month’s report. All regions of the country saw modest employment growth between September and December, led by the South (with 0.5 percent job growth) and the West (with 0.4 percent job growth). Three states—Utah, Nevada and North Carolina—had employment growth exceeding 1.0 percent during this time period.
With unemployment rates of 10.2 percent, Nevada and Rhode Island remain the only two states with double-digit unemployment, while California, New Jersey and North Carolina have rates exceeding 9.0 percent.
As governors unveil budget proposals in statehouses nationwide, it remains critical that policymakers not undermine state economic recovery through poor policy choices. Furthermore, state economies continue to remain vulnerable to budget decisions taken at the federal level. As federal lawmakers contemplate cuts to critical programs and services in the name of “austerity,” the well-being of state economies hang in the balance.