State employment data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms what the national data released earlier in the month showed: employment growth has stalled in many states—and slipped into reverse in some. The tentative economic recovery is very much in danger, and millions of American families are paying a staggering price for the lack of concerted action to create jobs for the millions of unemployed Americans. In May, 18 states and the District of Columbia continued to have unemployment rates of 9.0% or higher, and seven states continued to have rates of 10.0% or more. (See interactive maps below.)
Nearly half the states—24—continue to have total employment that is at least 5.0% less than at the beginning of the recession. Two states—Nevada and Arizona—have job losses that still exceed 10.0% of December 2007 employment levels (13.8% and 10.3% respectively). The number of states that have lost jobs over the past year (since May 2010) has grown to 12 (including the District of Columbia). The number of states that have lost jobs in the previous three months has similar spiked, to 18 (including the District of Columbia), up from just seven in April.
On a more positive note, Texas, Alaska, North Dakota and the District of Columbia continue to have employment levels greater than at the beginning of the recession.
These numbers highlight the importance of shifting the national discussion to the immediate economic needs of the American people. The best way to address longer-term deficit and debt issues is to put Americans back to work today. State and federal lawmakers need to work together to put America back to work.