While unemployment numbers changed very little last month from the month before, there were actually 17 states plus the District of Columbia that registered lower unemployment rates and others that added jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment was reduced in five states. Still, for the third month in a row, the national unemployment rate was 9.7 percent, up from 8.6 percent a year ago in March 2009.
The largest over-the-month increases in employment happened in:
- Maryland (+35,800 new jobs)
- Virginia (+24,500 new jobs)
- Pennsylvania (+22,600 new jobs)
- Indiana (+16,600 new jobs)
- New York (+11,700 new jobs)
You probably won't be surprised to learn which states lost the most jobs last month. They were:
- Michigan (9,500 fewer jobs)
- Nevada (7,100 fewer jobs)
- Florida (4,000 fewer jobs)
In fact, Michigan and Nevada again also recorded the highest overall unemployment rate among the states. The rates in California, Florida, and Nevada set new series highs, as did the rate in Georgia (10.6 percent).
The states with the highest unemployment rates last month were:
- Michigan, 14.1 percent
- Nevada, 13.4 percent
- California and Rhode Island, 12.6 percent each
- Florida, 12.3 percent
- South Carolina, 12.2 percent
But there is hope in some states. Twenty four states posted jobless rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 9.7 percent.
Those with the lowest jobless rates are:
- North Dakota, 4.0 percent
- South Dakota, 4.8 percent
- Nebraska, 5.0 percent
When it comes to regional employment rates, the West reported the highest regional jobless rate in March, at 11.0 percent, which is a new high. The Northeast recorded the lowest rate, 9.1 percent. All four regions registered significant rate increases from a year earlier: the West (+1.5 percent-age points), South (+1.4 points), Northeast (+1.3 points), and Midwest (+1.0 point). But if you look at it on a month by month basis, three of the four regions seem to have hit the bottom and are on their way up -- albeit slowly.