Today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics release of state-level data shows slow but steady progress towards economic recovery in most states, though eight states, including every New England state except Massachusetts, experienced job loss in the preceding three-month period (January 2012 to April 2012).
The number of states with unemployment rates greater than 10.0 percent remains at three – Nevada, Rhode Island and California – while a total of five states and the District of Columbia have rates greater than 9.0 percent.
The recovery of manufacturing jobs continues to be a bright spot, with 10 states seeing growth of manufacturing employment of five percent or more since January 2011. Strong manufacturing growth has contributed to the state of Michigan experiencing the most impressive reduction in its unemployment rate over the past year – down 2.2 percentage points since April 2011.
To avoid undermining their economic recovery, states should avoid pursuing policies that lead to a reduction in the size of their state and local government sectors. The states that have seen the greatest percentage reduction in employment over the past year – Wisconsin and Rhode Island – both have reduced the size of their public sector workforces significantly (-2.5 percent and -1.4 percent, respectively, compared to national average of -0.8%).