Economic Indicators | Jobs and Unemployment

Ongoing disaster evident in too many states

Earlier this month, the national jobs report was released, revealing the ongoing disaster resulting from a persistently weak economic recovery. Today’s release of state employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics helps identify the states that face the most grave economic challenges more than five years after the beginning of the Great Recession.

Between January 2013 and April 2013, twelve states and the District of Columbia experienced decline in overall employment. Earlier signs of weakness in the Northeast and Midwest were further realized over the three-month period from January 2013 to April 2013, with the Midwest job market stagnant at 0.0 percent, and the Northeast at 0.3 percent. Both the South and West experienced growth of 0.5 percent during this period. Utah’s growth of 1.7 percent leads the nation, with Texas’ job growth of 1.0 percent the only other state at or above 1 percent growth.
In April 2013, there were four states—Nevada, Illinois, Mississippi and California—with unemployment rates of 9.0 or more (down from seven states in March). The number of states in which the unemployment rate is now less than 5.0 percent increased to nine, led by Nebraska and North Dakota, each with rates less than 4.0 percent.

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

Too many states—and the workers struggling to get back on track—continue to bear the scars left by the Great Recession. Federal policy failures such as sequestration and the failure to renew extended unemployment benefits have been compounded at the state level by further layers of damaging austerity.

— Research assistance provided by Natalie Sabadish and Nick Finio

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