While the March state employment and unemployment report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed positive developments, a number of states are still suffering from a weak economic recovery.
From December 2013 to March 2014, 34 states gained jobs, led by gains of 1.7 percent in North Dakota, 1.4 percent in Nevada, and 1.0 percent in both Rhode Island and Utah. Over the same period, 16 states plus the District of Columbia lost jobs. Alaska (-0.9 percent), Kentucky (-0.9 percent), and Mississippi (-0.6 percent) saw the largest job losses.
During the same period, the unemployment rate declined in 35 states (and the District of Columbia), increased in 10 states, and was unchanged in 5 states.
Renewing extended unemployment benefits would strengthen states’ economic recoveries and soften the impact of ongoing job loss in the aftermath of the Great Recession. State lawmakers finalizing their respective budgets would be wise to keep this in mind, and not risk causing further damage by cutting social safety net programs or assistance to the unemployed.
With research assistance from Alyssa Davis.