State-level data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show further signs of a continuing weak recovery, with too many state economies spinning their wheels or slipping into reverse. The number of states experiencing job loss in the preceding three-month period (May 2012 to August 2012) has increased to 22 (plus the District of Columbia). The regions with the greatest job loss over this period are New England (-10,500 jobs) and the East South Central states (-8,100 jobs), while New Mexico’s 1.7 percent decline in non-farm employment is the largest single-state loss.
The number of states with unemployment rates greater than 10.0 percent remains at three—Nevada, Rhode Island and California—while an additional nine states have unemployment rates between 9.0 percent and 9.9 percent. Between May 2012 and August 2012, 39 states saw their unemployment rates increase.
As state budget cuts continue to take a toll on state economies, what is needed now is a concerted effort to put every state firmly on the path to recovery. The best way to achieve this is through federal aid to state and local governments. Significant new investment in public infrastructure, such as schools, highways and bridges, would also make a big difference in state economies.