Economic Indicators | Jobs and Unemployment

State Economies Slog Towards Recovery

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State level data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows which states have struggled the most to return to pre-recession employment levels.

Between February 2013 and May 2013, fifteen states experienced decline in overall employment. The Midwest continues to show the weakest employment growth, with 0.0 percent job growth over the three-month period from February 2013 to May 2013. At the same time, both the South and West have slipped to underwhelming growth rate of 0.2 percent from February to May.

In May 2013, there were three states—Nevada, Illinois, and Mississippi—with unemployment rates of 9.0 percent or more, down from four states with such high unemployment rates in April and seven in March of 2013.

Meanwhile, there are now eight states in which the unemployment rate is less than 5.0 percent, including Nebraska and North Dakota, which have rates less than 4.0 percent.

MORE: Graphs and data from the latest employment and unemployment numbers on EPI’s State of Working America.

With workers in every state still bearing the brunt of the Great Recession, both state and federal policy makers need to pursue policies that strengthen the recovery, such as increasing the minimum wage, rather than putting additional drag on recovery through unnecessary austerity. What’s more, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, we should also remember that that the detrimental impact of an ailing economy continues to fall most heavily on Hispanic and black workers in every state.

Research assistance provided by Natalie Sabadish and Hilary Wething


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