Monthly state employment data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the economy strengthening across all regions of the country. While there continue to be 14 states that have experienced job loss over the preceding three-month period (June 2012 to September 2012), this number is down from 22 states in last month’s report. All regions of the country saw job gain, led by the West South Central region (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas), with 0.5 percent job growth over the preceding three months, and 2.1 percent growth over the preceding year.
Three states—Nevada, Rhode Island and California—continue to have unemployment rates greater than 10.0 percent, and another six states have rates exceeding 9.0 percent. On the other hand, fully a quarter of all states now have unemployment rates of less than 6.0 percent, and a quarter of states have unemployment rates that are within 2.0 percentage points of their rates at the beginning of the recession. Michigan’s impressive recovery falls just outside that threshold, with an unemployment rate just 2.1 percentage points higher than in December 2007.
Despite these positive economic trends, looming budget cuts at the federal level would undermine economic recovery at the state level. For example,the cuts scheduled through sequestration would have a devastating impact on both state budgets and state economies.