September Jobs Report: Little Changes For States

Oct 21, 2011
Originally published on October 21, 2011 12:45 pm

Unemployment rates across America didn't change much in September, says the Labor Department. But among the mostly small shifts that occurred, 25 states reported decreases in their unemployment rate. Of the remaining states, 14 saw a higher jobless rate, and 11 remained the same.

Looking at the national picture, Bloomberg reports, "Unemployment has exceeded 8 percent since February 2009, the longest stretch of such elevated joblessness since monthly records began in 1948."

North Dakota and Nevada had the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, at 3.5 and 4.3 percent, respectively, in the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For NPR's Newscast unit, Danielle Karson reports:

Job losses went up in 25 states last month. While 24 states added more jobs. Nevada is still struggling with the highest jobless rate — 13.4 percent, followed by California with 12 percent. Florida posted the biggest job gains, with more than 23,000 new hires.

The gains and losses at the state level suggest that the labor market is hanging by a thread. Heidi Shierholtz is an economist with the Economic Policy Institute.

"They're consistent with what we're seeing at the national level, which is, in most states, we're not seeing the kind of job growth we need to start digging out of this thing," she says.

Sheirholtz says the country needs to add at least 100,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth and drive down the national unemployment rate, now at 9.1 percent.

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