In February, 27 states recorded over-the-month unemployment rate increases. And, Mississippi had the largest increase in the nation.
Seven states and the District of Columbia registered rate decreases and 16 states had no rate change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Over the year, jobless rates increased in 46 states and the District of Columbia and declined in four states.
The national unemployment rate in February, 9.7 percent, remained unchanged from January, but was up from 8.2 percent a year earlier.
In February, nonfarm payroll employment decreased in 27 states and the District of Columbia and increased in 23 states. The largest over-the-month decreases in employment occurred in Virginia (-32,600), followed by California (-20,400), Michigan and Pennsylvania (-16,000 each), Maryland (-13,800), and Texas (-13,000). Alaska experienced the largest over-the-month percentage decrease in employment (-1.0 percent), followed by Virginia (-0.9 percent) and Arkansas, the District of Columbia and Maryland (-0.6 percent each). The largest over-the-month increase in employment occurred in Florida (+26,300), followed by New York (+5,800), Alabama (+5,600), Wisconsin (+5,200), Nevada (+5,100), and South Carolina (+5,000). Nevada experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment (+0.5 percent), followed by Florida and New Hampshire (+0.4 percent each) and Alabama, South Carolina, and Vermont (+0.3 percent each). Over the year, nonfarm employment decreased in 49 states and increased in 1 state and the District of Columbia. The largest over-the-year percentage decreases occurred in Nevada (-5.2 percent), Wyoming (-4.4 percent), California (-4.1 percent), and Arizona (-4.0 percent).
In February, the West reported the highest regional jobless rate, 10.9 percent, while the Northeast recorded the lowest rate, 9.1 percent. The South experienced the only statistically significant over-the-month rate change (+0.1 percentage point). Over the year, all four regions registered significant rate increases, the largest of which were in the South and West (+1.8 percentage points each). (See table 1.)
Among the nine geographic divisions, the Pacific continued to report the highest jobless rate, 11.8 percent in February. The East North Central and East South Central recorded the next highest rates, 11.3 and 11 percent, respectively. The West North Central registered the lowest February jobless rate, 7.2 percent, followed by the West South Central, 7.9 percent. The Pacific rate, as well as the South Atlantic rate (10.5 percent), set new series highs. (All region, division, and state series begin in 1976.) Two divisions experienced statistically significant unemployment rate changes from a month earlier: the Mountain (+0.3 percentage point) and South Atlantic (+0.2 point). Eight of the nine divisions re-ported significant over-the-year rate increases. The largest of these occurred in the Pacific and South Atlantic (+2.0 percentage points each).
Michigan again recorded the highest unemployment rate among the states, 14.1 percent in February. The states with the next highest rates were Nevada, 13.2 percent; Rhode Island, 12.7 percent; California and South Carolina, 12.5 percent each; and Florida, 12.2 percent. North Dakota continued to register the lowest jobless rate, 4.1 percent in February, followed by Nebraska and South Dakota, 4.8 percent each. The rates in Florida and Nevada set new series highs, as did the rates in two other states: Georgia (10.5 percent) and North Carolina (11.2 percent). In total, 24 states posted jobless rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 9.7 percent, 13 states and the District of Columbia had measurably higher rates, and 13 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.
Nine states reported statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate increases in February. Mississippi experienced the largest of these (+0.4 percentage point). Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Utah, and Virginia had the next largest rate increases (+0.3 percentage point each), followed by Florida and Maryland (+0.2 point each) and Montana (+0.1 point). The remaining 41 states and the District of Columbia registered jobless rates that were not appreciably different from those of a month earlier, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes.
Nevada and West Virginia recorded the largest jobless rate increases from February 2009 (+3.1 percentage points each), followed by Florida (+3.0 points). The District of Columbia also registered a large over-the-year unemployment rate increase (+3.1 percentage points). Thirty-five additional states had smaller, but also statistically significant, rate increases. The remaining 12 states reported jobless rates that were not appreciably different from those of a year earlier.
Between January and February 2010, 7 states and the District of Columbia experienced statistically significant changes in employment; six states and the District of Columbia had statistically significant decreases in employment. The largest statistically significant job losses occurred in Virginia (-32,600), followed by Michigan and Pennsylvania (-16,000 each), and Maryland (-13,800). The only statistically significant increase in employment occurred in Florida (+26,300).
Over the year, 46 states experienced statistically significant changes in employment, all of which were decreases. The largest statistically significant job losses occurred in California (-586,300), Texas (-236,800), Florida (-211,500), Illinois (-192,200), and Ohio (-177,900).
The smallest statistically significant job losses occurred in South Dakota (-8,500), Montana (-9,200) and Maine (-12,200).