November’s state employment data released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics closes out the year with relatively positive news for most states. Despite this fact, every state (except North Dakota) continues to face jobs deficits, having not yet replaced all jobs lost during the recession, nor created enough jobs to keep up with population growth.
From August 2013 to November 2013, 39 states and the District of Columbia saw gains in employment, with Texas (+78,900), Florida (+74,700), and California (+71,500) experiencing the largest net increases in jobs. North Dakota, Delaware, and Florida led employment gains as a percentage of jobs gained, each recording gains of 1.0 percent or more. During the same period, 11 states lost jobs.
From August 2013 to November 2013, unemployment rates declined in 43 states and the District of Columbia, rose in 5 states (Ohio, Hawaii, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, and Arkansas), and remained unchanged in two states.
The South and Midwest both experienced unemployment rate decreases of 0.5 percentage points between August and November. No region saw an overall increase in their combined unemployment rates.
In November, both Nevada and Rhode Island continued to have unemployment rates of 9.0 percent, and nineteen states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rates above the national average of 7.0 percent. In contrast, nine states maintained unemployment rates below the pre-recession national average of 5.0 percent.
Despite positive signs in November, both national and state policy makers need to avoid taking measures that will undermine economic recovery. With national legislators poised to cut extended unemployment benefits, not only will families lose a critical lifeline, but every state will face the prospect of employment losses in 2014 that will set back positive gains experienced in 2013.