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News from EPI Most state labor markets improve in May, a handful continue to see rising unemployment and slow job growth

The State and Regional Employment report for May, released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed steady improvement in most states’ labor markets, while a handful of states continue to experience unemployment increases and slow job growth.

From February to May, 30 states and the District of Columbia added jobs, with North Dakota (1.0 percent), Utah (0.8 percent), District of Columbia (0.6 percent), Hawaii (0.6 percent) and Oregon (0.6 percent) making the largest percentage job gains. Over that same period, employment fell in 20 states. Of those states, West Virginia (-0.7 percent), Kansas (-0.6 percent), New Jersey (-0.6 percent), and Vermont (-0.6 percent) had the largest losses.

From February to May, the unemployment rate fell in 35 states. Tennessee (-1.3 percent), Michigan (-1.1 percent), Indiana (-0.9 percent), and Illinois (-0.8 percent) saw the largest declines unemployment. Over those same months, the unemployment rate increased in eight states and the District of Columbia. The largest increases in unemployment occurred in Massachusetts (0.8 percent), District of Columbia (0.3 percent), Connecticut (0.2 percent), Delaware (0.2 percent), and New Hampshire (0.2 percent). In seven states, the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged.

Figure 1

Current state unemployment rate and percent change in total number of jobs over last 12 months

State Current unemployment rate Change in unemployment rate in last 3 months Change in unemployment rate in last 12 months Change in unemployment rate since Dec. 2007 State unemployment rate ranking from lowest to highest Percent change in number of jobs in last 12 months Change in number of jobs in last 12 months Percent change in number of jobs in last 3 months Change in number of jobs in last 3 months Percent change in number of jobs since Dec. 2007 Change in number of jobs since Dec. 2007
Alabama 4.1% 0.0% 0.2% -0.2% 32 1.3% 25,800 0.3% 6,700 0.6% 13,000
Alaska 6.5% -0.6% -0.7% 0.1% 51 -0.7% -2300 -0.3% -1000 2.3% 7,200
Arizona 4.7% 0.0% 0.0% 0.4% 46 2.9% 81,400 1.3% 38,000 7.4% 197,100
Arkansas 3.5% -0.3% -0.2% -1.6% 18 1.1% 13,200 0.5% 5900 3.8% 46,300
California 4.1% -0.1% -0.4% -1.8% 33 2.0% 339,600 0.5% 90,200 11.1% 1,723,000
Colorado 3.1% 0.4% 0.1% -1.0% 12 2.9% 77,200 0.5% 13,600 16.9% 397,900
Connecticut 4.2% -0.2% -0.3% -0.7% 38 1.2% 19900 0.2% 3,300 -0.2% -4,000
Delaware 4.0% 0.1% -0.5% 0.3% 30 1.8% 8000 0.8% 3500 5.1% 22,700
Washington D.C. 5.7% 0.1% -0.3% 0.1% 50 1.0% 8,000 0.8% 6000 14.2% 99,500
Florida 3.5% -0.3% -0.4% -1.2% 19 4.8% 407,300 0.8% 69,100 11.5% 910,700
Georgia 3.7% -0.4% -0.8% -1.3% 25 2.5% 111,100 0.9% 39,000 9.6% 399,900
Hawaii 2.2% 0.1% 0.0% -0.9% 1 1.8% 11,600 0.3% 1800 5.9% 36,900
Idaho 2.7% -0.2% -0.3% -0.4% 3 2.7% 19,200 0.1% 500 12.6% 82,700
Illinois 4.1% -0.2% -0.9% -1.3% 34 0.8% 50,300 0.0% -300 2.3% 139,700
Indiana 3.5% 0.2% 0.0% -1.2% 20 0.9% 28,000 0.5% 16,700 4.8% 144,300
Iowa 2.5% -0.2% -0.5% -1.2% 2 1.1% 17,600 -0.1% -2100 4.3% 64,900
Kansas 3.3% -0.1% -0.3% -1.0% 15 1.4% 19,600 0.0% -500 2.7% 37,100
Kentucky 4.5% 0.3% -0.2% -0.9% 42 0.8% 14,500 0.4% 8400 4.3% 80,400
Louisiana 5.0% 0.3% 0.2% 0.8% 48 1.0% 19900 0.0% -600 2.7% 52,100
Maine 3.3% 0.4% 0.0% -1.5% 16 0.7% 4500 -0.1% -900 1.3% 8000
Maryland 4.2% -0.1% 0.2% 0.9% 39 0.9% 25,200 0.5% 14000 5.2% 136,800
Massachusetts 3.6% 0.1% 0.0% -1.0% 22 1.8% 63,400 0.1% 2,100 10.8% 358,600
Michigan 4.0% -0.4% -0.7% -3.2% 31 1.4% 63,300 0.2% 9,500 4.5% 192,800
Minnesota 2.8% -0.3% -0.5% -1.9% 6 1.3% 38,200 0.2% 7200 7.3% 203,200
Mississippi 4.8% 0.1% -0.1% -1.0% 47 1.8% 20,300 0.3% 3200 0.8% 9,700
Missouri 3.2% -0.3% -0.4% -2.2% 13 1.4% 39,300 0.2% 6,500 3.9% 108,500
Montana 3.6% -0.2% -0.5% -0.6% 23 1.6% 7,400 0.7% 3100 7.5% 33,400
Nebraska 2.8% -0.1% -0.1% -0.2% 7 1.7% 17,400 0.3% 2,900 6.9% 66,600
Nevada 4.5% -0.2% -0.4% -0.5% 43 3.2% 43,500 1.0% 14,200 7.9% 101,500
New Hampshire 2.7% 0.0% 0.1% -0.8% 4 2.2% 14,900 0.2% 1400 6.1% 39,700
New Jersey 4.2% -0.1% -0.5% -0.3% 40 1.4% 58,000 0.2% 8,400 2.7% 111,600
New Mexico 4.6% -0.3% -1.4% 0.7% 44 2.6% 21,200 0.9% 7,800 0.2% 1,300
New York 4.1% -0.4% -0.6% -0.7% 35 1.0% 95,300 0.1% 6,900 9.9% 871,200
North Carolina 3.8% -0.4% -0.6% -1.1% 26 1.9% 82,300 -0.3% -13,800 8.2% 340,000
North Dakota 2.7% 0.1% 0.1% -0.3% 5 1.1% 4800 0.5% 2300 20.1% 72,800
Ohio 4.6% 0.1% -0.4% -1.0% 45 1.9% 104,600 0.5% 30,400 4.1% 220,800
Oklahoma 3.5% -0.4% -0.6% -0.1% 21 2.0% 34,000 0.5% 8900 5.9% 94,400
Oregon 3.8% -0.2% -0.4% -1.5% 27 2.3% 43,200 0.3% 6,100 10.6% 184,700
Pennsylvania 4.1% -0.2% -0.7% -0.6% 36 1.3% 78,700 0.3% 17,200 3.9% 224,000
Rhode Island 3.9% -0.4% -0.6% -2.1% 29 1.4% 7,000 -0.1% -500 2.9% 14,300
South Carolina 3.3% -0.5% -0.9% -2.3% 17 1.3% 27,600 -0.6% -13400 8.4% 164,000
South Dakota 3.0% -0.2% -0.4% 0.3% 10 1.4% 6200 0.4% 1600 8.1% 33,200
Tennessee 3.6% 0.1% 0.3% -1.8% 24 2.1% 63,900 0.5% 15800 9.9% 276,500
Texas 3.8% -0.2% -0.2% -0.5% 28 3.3% 406,400 0.5% 65,300 19.7% 2,076,400
Utah 3.2% 0.2% 0.0% 0.3% 14 3.6% 52,400 0.9% 14,200 20.8% 262,700
Vermont 2.9% 0.1% 0.0% -1.3% 8 -0.6% -1900 -1.0% -3100 1.3% 4,000
Virginia 2.9% -0.3% -0.7% -0.4% 9 1.7% 68,400 0.5% 19,800 6.6% 248,200
Washington 4.4% -0.3% -0.3% -0.3% 41 3.2% 105,200 0.8% 25,700 14.9% 447,400
West Virginia 5.2% -0.1% -0.1% 0.6% 49 0.8% 5900 0.1% 600 -1.1% -8500
Wisconsin 3.0% 0.1% -0.3% -1.7% 11 1.4% 41,700 0.3% 8,900 3.7% 107,500
Wyoming 4.1% 0.4% 0.0% 1.3% 37 2.2% 6,300 0.7% 2100 -2.2% -6,400

Jobs refers to the total number of jobs, part-time or full-time, in non-farm establishments.

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

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