Economic Indicators

State labor markets continue their slow recoveries

The October State Employment and Regional Employment data, released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, show state labor markets have mostly continued their trend towards economic recovery. Over the last quarter, a majority of states have seen job growth, no change in unemployment rates, or only slight employment declines, along with increases in the labor force participation rate. These indicators point to healthier labor markets for current workers and preciously discouraged job seekers reentering the work force.

From July to October, 34 states and the District of Columbia added jobs, with the largest percentage gains in District of Columbia (+1.1 percent), New Hampshire (+1.0 percent), Tennessee (+1.0 percent), and Washington (+1.0 percent). Over the same period, 16 states lost jobs. Maine (-1.3 percent), Vermont (-1.0 percent), and New Mexico (-0.9 percent), and Connecticut (-0.8 percent) suffered the largest losses. Over the last quarter the Northeast was the only region to experience job loss, but this loss has not been sustained over the past 6 or 12 months.

From July to October, the unemployment rate fell in 17 states. Nevada (-1.0 percent), Arizona (-0.8 percent), Massachusetts (-0.8 percent), and Utah (-0.7 percent) experienced the largest declines in unemployment. There were small increases in the unemployment rate in 24 states and the District of Columbia. The largest increases in unemployment rates occurred in New York (+0.5 percentage points), Tennessee (+0.5 percentage points), Virginia (+0.5 percentage points), Kansas (+0.4 percentage points), and Missouri (+0.4 percentage points). Twenty states still have higher unemployment rates than at the beginning of the Great Recession.

As the labor market continues its slow but steady recovery, policymakers should make sure the rewards of economic growth are shared by those demographics usually left behind. Federal and state institutions can address gender and racial disparities through a number of policies including progressive revenue increases, a higher minimum wage, and pay equity for women and minorities.

Unemployment

Unemployment rate by state, October 2016

State Percentage point change since December 2007 Percentage point change last 3 months Unemployment rate, October 2016
Alabama 1.3 0 5.7%
Alaska 0.4 0.1 6.8%
Arizona 0.8 -0.8 5.2%
Arkansas -1.2 0.1 4.0%
California -0.5 0 5.5%
Colorado -0.6 -0.3 3.5%
Connecticut 0.2 -0.6 5.1%
Delaware 0.6 0 4.3%
DC 0.4 0.2 6.1%
Florida -0.1 0.1 4.8%
Georgia 0.1 0.2 5.2%
Hawaii 0 -0.3 3.2%
Idaho 0.6 0 3.8%
Illinois 0.1 -0.2 5.6%
Indiana -0.4 -0.2 4.4%
Iowa 0.4 0 4.1%
Kansas 0.1 0.4 4.4%
Kentucky -0.4 0.1 5.1%
Louisiana 2.2 0 6.3%
Maine -0.9 0.1 4.0%
Maryland 0.8 -0.1 4.2%
Massachusetts -1.3 -0.8 3.3%
Michigan -2.6 0.2 4.7%
Minnesota -0.7 0.1 4.0%
Mississippi 0 -0.1 5.9%
Missouri -0.3 0.4 5.1%
Montana 0.1 0.1 4.3%
Nebraska 0.3 0.2 3.3%
Nevada 0.4 -1 5.5%
New Hampshire -0.7 -0.1 2.8%
New Jersey 0.6 0 5.2%
New Mexico 2.7 0.3 6.7%
New York 0.3 0.5 5.2%
North Carolina -0.1 0.2 4.9%
North Dakota -0.1 -0.2 3.0%
Ohio -0.8 0.1 4.9%
Oklahoma 1.6 0.2 5.2%
Oregon 0 0.1 5.3%
Pennsylvania 1 0.2 5.8%
Rhode Island -0.6 0 5.5%
South Carolina -1 -0.5 4.7%
South Dakota 0.1 0 2.8%
Tennessee -0.7 0.5 4.8%
Texas 0.4 0.1 4.7%
Utah 0.2 -0.7 3.2%
Vermont -0.9 0.1 3.3%
Virginia 0.7 0.5 4.2%
Washington 0.6 -0.4 5.4%
West Virginia 1.3 0.3 6.0%
Wisconsin -0.7 -0.1 4.1%
Wyoming 2.3 -0.6 5.1%
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The data below can be saved or copied directly into Excel.

Note: The unemployment rate measures the share of jobless persons in the labor force (the sum of employment and unemployed persons) and not the entire population.  Persons who are not actively looking for work are not included in this measure.  All data are seasonally adjusted.

Source: EPI analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics' Local Area Unemployment Statistics data

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Employment

Change in employment by state December 2007–October 2016

State Total employment, October 2016 Percent change since December 2007 Change since December 2007 Change last 3 months Percent change last 3 months Percent change since December 2007
Alabama 1,974,600 -2.0% -40,300 8,700 0.4% -2.0%
Alaska 338,900 6.6% 20,900 -1,100 -0.3% 6.6%
Arizona 2,717,700 1.4% 38,300 13,200 0.5% 1.4%
Arkansas 1,231,100 1.9% 23,500 5,100 0.4% 1.9%
California 16,586,800 7.2% 1,114,300 115,600 0.7% 7.2%
Colorado 2,626,800 11.8% 276,300 13,100 0.5% 11.8%
Connecticut 1,676,400 -1.7% -28,900 -14,100 -0.8% -1.7%
Delaware 461,200 4.7% 20,600 500 0.1% 4.7%
DC 781,800 11.7% 81,700 8,800 1.1% 11.7%
Florida 8,434,700 6.3% 502,900 66,800 0.8% 6.3%
Georgia 4,410,300 5.8% 240,000 30,600 0.7% 5.8%
Hawaii 654,200 4.2% 26,200 3,900 0.6% 4.2%
Idaho 695,300 5.9% 38,800 -100 0.0% 5.9%
Illinois 6,022,600 0.6% 37,400 5,700 0.1% 0.6%
Indiana 3,077,700 2.8% 84,600 5,900 0.2% 2.8%
Iowa 1,583,900 3.9% 59,000 -1,800 -0.1% 3.9%
Kansas 1,396,700 0.7% 9,900 1,200 0.1% 0.7%
Kentucky 1,914,400 3.0% 56,600 11,000 0.6% 3.0%
Louisiana 1,975,400 2.1% 39,900 -3,100 -0.2% 2.1%
Maine 609,500 -1.8% -11,200 -8,300 -1.3% -1.8%
Maryland 2,712,200 3.8% 100,300 600 0.0% 3.8%
Massachusetts 3,576,700 7.8% 258,300 6,200 0.2% 7.8%
Michigan 4,360,600 2.7% 115,200 19,600 0.5% 2.7%
Minnesota 2,893,100 4.4% 121,800 -9,800 -0.3% 4.4%
Mississippi 1,139,900 -1.8% -20,400 -4,900 -0.4% -1.8%
Missouri 2,838,500 1.3% 36,100 20,800 0.7% 1.3%
Montana 464,400 4.0% 17,900 3,100 0.7% 4.0%
Nebraska 1,016,300 5.0% 48,600 -1,500 -0.1% 5.0%
Nevada 1,299,800 0.6% 7,900 3,300 0.3% 0.6%
New Hampshire 673,700 3.6% 23,300 6,600 1.0% 3.6%
New Jersey 4,081,600 0.0% -2,000 3,000 0.1% 0.0%
New Mexico 823,100 -3.1% -26,000 -7,500 -0.9% -3.1%
New York 9,381,900 7.0% 613,600 -15,100 -0.2% 7.0%
North Carolina 4,344,400 4.2% 176,600 3,100 0.1% 4.2%
North Dakota 441,200 21.9% 79,200 -2,700 -0.6% 21.9%
Ohio 5,496,600 1.4% 77,000 -8,800 -0.2% 1.4%
Oklahoma 1,656,000 3.1% 49,700 -3,700 -0.2% 3.1%
Oregon 1,855,100 6.8% 117,600 16,800 0.9% 6.8%
Pennsylvania 5,900,400 1.5% 88,900 0 0.0% 1.5%
Rhode Island 492,400 0.9% 4,600 900 0.2% 0.9%
South Carolina 2,061,000 5.7% 111,800 5,900 0.3% 5.7%
South Dakota 439,300 7.6% 31,000 2,600 0.6% 7.6%
Tennessee 2,988,600 6.5% 183,100 30,000 1.0% 6.5%
Texas 12,101,300 14.9% 1,572,800 69,300 0.6% 14.9%
Utah 1,432,500 13.2% 167,300 6,700 0.5% 13.2%
Vermont 315,400 2.2% 6,900 -3,100 -1.0% 2.2%
Virginia 3,948,700 4.5% 171,700 28,600 0.7% 4.5%
Washington 3,283,100 9.5% 285,400 33,900 1.0% 9.5%
West Virginia 761,400 -0.7% -5,000 1,200 0.2% -0.7%
Wisconsin 2,935,000 2.0% 57,400 1,400 0.0% 2.0%
Wyoming 278,800 -5.2% -15,300 -1,500 -0.5% -5.2%
ChartData Download data

The data below can be saved or copied directly into Excel.

Note: Total nonfarm employment is the total number of jobs, part-time or full-time, in non-farm establishments.

Source: EPI analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Establishment Survey data

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