Economic Indicators

June state employment numbers are generally positive, but policymakers still have work to do

The Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report, released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was generally positive—a nice reversal from the more negative tenor of the last few state jobs reports that suggests the slowdown in job growth in April and May might have only been temporary. Over the past 3 months, a majority of states have added jobs, and state unemployment rates have mostly held steady or declined. Most states where the unemployment rate rose substantially also saw growth in their labor force, giving hope that at least some of the increase in unemployment could be from discouraged job-seekers restarting their search.

From March to June, 35 states and the District of Columbia added jobs, with Florida (+0.9 percent), California (+0.8 percent), Delaware (+0.7 percent), Massachusetts (+0.7 percent), and South Dakota (+0.7 percent) posting the largest percentage gains. The regional diversity of these states is instructive: job growth was fairly widespread throughout the country with every Census region showing gains, except in the East South Central region (Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi) where the job total declined slightly. Of the 15 states where job numbers did decline since March, only Wyoming (-1.4 percent), Mississippi (-0.9 percent), North Dakota (-0.4 percent), and Rhode Island (-0.4 percent) had sizable reductions.

From March to June, unemployment fell in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Kentucky (-0.6 percentage points), North Carolina (-0.6 percentage points), West Virginia (-0.5 percentage points), and the District of Columbia had the largest reductions in unemployment. The unemployment rate rose in 21 states, with the biggest jumps occurring in Colorado (+0.8 percentage points), New Jersey (+0.7 percentage points), Pennsylvania (+0.7 percentage points), and Nevada (+0.6 percentage points). Of these four, the labor force expanded in all but New Jersey.

While the June state jobs report provides reason for optimism, it should not be viewed as a sign that the current job market is as good as it gets. The prime-age employment-to-population ratio is still below the lowest level reached in the previous two recessions prior to the Great Recession. Nominal wage growth is still far below the target range where the Federal Reserve would be justified in raising interest rates. And even as overall unemployment rates have fallen to more acceptable levels, communities of color are still experiencing joblessness at rates far higher than their white counterparts, indicating a need for more targeted efforts to expand opportunity in these communities. The bottom line is that there is still weakness in the labor market which federal and state lawmakers would do well to address head-on. With interest rates still at record lows, it is an ideal time to invest in infrastructure—roads, bridges, and schools. Summer vacation may have started, but policymakers have more work to do.

Unemployment

Unemployment rate by state, June 2016

State Percentage point change since December 2007 Percentage point change last 3 months Unemployment rate, June 2016
Alabama 1.6 -0.2 6.0%
Alaska 0.3 0.1 6.7%
Arizona 1.4 0.4 5.8%
Arkansas -1.4 -0.3 3.8%
California -0.6 0 5.4%
Colorado -0.4 0.8 3.7%
Connecticut 0.9 0.1 5.8%
Delaware 0.5 -0.2 4.2%
DC 0.3 -0.5 6.0%
Florida -0.2 -0.2 4.7%
Georgia 0 -0.4 5.1%
Hawaii 0.1 0.2 3.3%
Idaho 0.5 -0.1 3.7%
Illinois 0.7 -0.3 6.2%
Indiana 0 -0.2 4.8%
Iowa 0.3 0.2 4.0%
Kansas -0.5 -0.1 3.8%
Kentucky -0.5 -0.6 5.0%
Louisiana 2.1 0.1 6.2%
Maine -1.2 0.3 3.7%
Maryland 0.9 -0.4 4.3%
Massachusetts -0.4 -0.2 4.2%
Michigan -2.7 -0.2 4.6%
Minnesota -0.9 0 3.8%
Mississippi 0 -0.4 5.9%
Missouri -0.9 0.3 4.5%
Montana 0 -0.1 4.2%
Nebraska 0 0 3.0%
Nevada 1.3 0.6 6.4%
New Hampshire -0.7 0.2 2.8%
New Jersey 0.5 0.7 5.1%
New Mexico 2.2 0 6.2%
New York -0.2 -0.1 4.7%
North Carolina -0.1 -0.6 4.9%
North Dakota 0.1 0.1 3.2%
Ohio -0.7 -0.1 5.0%
Oklahoma 1.2 0.4 4.8%
Oregon -0.5 0.3 4.8%
Pennsylvania 0.8 0.7 5.6%
Rhode Island -0.6 0.1 5.5%
South Carolina -0.3 -0.3 5.4%
South Dakota 0 0.2 2.7%
Tennessee -1.4 -0.4 4.1%
Texas 0.2 0.2 4.5%
Utah 1 0.5 4.0%
Vermont -1 -0.1 3.2%
Virginia 0.2 -0.3 3.7%
Washington 1 0 5.8%
West Virginia 1.3 -0.5 6.0%
Wisconsin -0.6 -0.3 4.2%
Wyoming 2.9 0.5 5.7%
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The data below can be saved or copied directly into Excel.

Note: The unemployment rate measures the share of jobless persons in the labor force (the sum of employment and unemployed persons) and not the entire population.  Persons who are not actively looking for work are not included in this measure.  All data are seasonally adjusted.

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

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Employment

Change in employment by state December 2007–June 2016

State Total employment, June 2016 Percent change since December 2007 Change since December 2007 Percent change last 3 months Change last 3 months Percent change since December 2007
Alabama 1,966,300 -2.41% -48,600 7,300 0.37% -2.41%
Alaska 339,600 6.79% 21,600 1200 0.35% 6.79%
Arizona 2,701,100 0.81% 21,700 9,200 0.34% 0.81%
Arkansas 1,226,900 1.60% 19,300 2,500 0.20% 1.60%
California 16,459,700 6.38% 987,200 137,800 0.84% 6.38%
Colorado 2,598,700 10.56% 248,200 2,900 0.11% 10.56%
Connecticut 1,693,400 -0.70% -11,900 7,100 0.42% -0.70%
Delaware 462,000 4.86% 21,400 3,400 0.74% 4.86%
DC 775,700 10.80% 75,600 1,900 0.25% 10.80%
Florida 8,324,500 4.95% 392,700 71,700 0.87% 4.95%
Georgia 4,387,600 5.21% 217,300 26,900 0.62% 5.21%
Hawaii 650,900 3.65% 22,900 -500 -0.08% 3.65%
Idaho 691,300 5.30% 34,800 -400 -0.06% 5.30%
Illinois 6,003,600 0.31% 18,400 -3,100 -0.05% 0.31%
Indiana 3,070,200 2.58% 77,100 8100 0.26% 2.58%
Iowa 1,581,100 3.69% 56,200 4600 0.29% 3.69%
Kansas 1,403,400 1.20% 16,600 4,200 0.30% 1.20%
Kentucky 1,905,400 2.56% 47,600 -3500 -0.18% 2.56%
Louisiana 1,977,600 2.18% 42,100 500 0.03% 2.18%
Maine 615,100 -0.90% -5,600 500 0.08% -0.90%
Maryland 2,714,500 3.93% 102,600 9,900 0.37% 3.93%
Massachusetts 3,563,500 7.39% 245,100 26,400 0.75% 7.39%
Michigan 4,330,400 2.00% 85,000 5,500 0.13% 2.00%
Minnesota 2,889,400 4.26% 118,100 13,200 0.46% 4.26%
Mississippi 1,137,100 -2.00% -23,200 -10,000 -0.87% -2.00%
Missouri 2,804,900 0.09% 2,500 3,700 0.13% 0.09%
Montana 464,000 3.92% 17,500 -600 -0.13% 3.92%
Nebraska 1,016,400 5.03% 48,700 -900 -0.09% 5.03%
Nevada 1,288,800 -0.24% -3,100 6,100 0.48% -0.24%
New Hampshire 666,900 2.54% 16,500 2,000 0.30% 2.54%
New Jersey 4,090,600 0.17% 7,000 16,700 0.41% 0.17%
New Mexico 831,900 -2.03% -17,200 4,300 0.52% -2.03%
New York 9,363,700 6.79% 595,400 30,800 0.33% 6.79%
North Carolina 4,329,200 3.87% 161,400 18,700 0.43% 3.87%
North Dakota 438,200 21.05% 76,200 -1,800 -0.41% 21.05%
Ohio 5,497,000 1.43% 77,400 5,600 0.10% 1.43%
Oklahoma 1,665,800 3.70% 59,500 -200 -0.01% 3.70%
Oregon 1,834,400 5.58% 96,900 11,200 0.61% 5.58%
Pennsylvania 5,893,400 1.41% 81,900 -1,200 -0.02% 1.41%
Rhode Island 488,400 0.12% 600 -2,200 -0.45% 0.12%
South Carolina 2,051,100 5.23% 101,900 11,500 0.56% 5.23%
South Dakota 435,400 6.64% 27,100 3100 0.72% 6.64%
Tennessee 2,952,600 5.24% 147,100 900 0.03% 5.24%
Texas 11,987,300 13.86% 1,458,800 25,700 0.21% 13.86%
Utah 1,419,200 12.17% 154,000 7,500 0.53% 12.17%
Vermont 315,900 2.40% 7,400 -600 -0.19% 2.40%
Virginia 3,912,800 3.60% 135,800 -6,300 -0.16% 3.60%
Washington 3,245,900 8.28% 248,200 15,400 0.48% 8.28%
West Virginia 762,800 -0.47% -3,600 1,000 0.13% -0.47%
Wisconsin 2,932,400 1.90% 54,800 -3,800 -0.13% 1.90%
Wyoming 280,500 -4.62% -13,600 -3,900 -1.37% -4.62%
ChartData Download data

The data below can be saved or copied directly into Excel.

Note: Total nonfarm employment is the total number of jobs, part-time or full-time, in non-farm establishments.

Source: EPI analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Establishment Survey data

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