U.S. Jobless Rates Rise Again in September; Large Divergence Between States

by: Marketing Charts

Following the release of discouraging overall unemployment data for September 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has released a state breakdown of September 2009 unemployment that shows US jobless rates have increased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia since September 2008.

On a month-over-month basis, however, the picture is more mixed. Unemployment rates have grown since August 2009 in 23 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 19 states, and remained flat in eight others, Retailer Daily reports.

Ten states and the District of Columbia reported jobless rates of at least 10% in September. Michigan continued to have the highest unemployment rate among the states at 15.3%. Nevada recorded the next highest rate, 13.3%, followed by Rhode Island, 13%, California, 12.2%, and Oregon, 11.5%. The rates in California, Rhode Island, and Florida (11%) set new series highs.

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In September 2009, Michigan reported the largest unemployment rate increase over the year, 6.4 percentage points. Three other states had rate changes of more than 5 percentage points: Nevada, 6 points, and Alabama, 5.3 points. All states and the District of Columbia recorded statistically significant increases in their jobless rates from August 2008, with the smallest increase occurring in North Dakota, where the rate increased by nine-tenths of a percentage point.

Decrease in Non-Farm Payroll Jobs

However, more telling than the increase in state unemployment rates - which track people actively looking for work and leaves out a statistically significant number of people who have given up looking for work or have not looked for work in the previous four weeks - is the significant decrease in non-farm payroll jobs in 15 states and the District of Columbia, with no states reporting significant monthly increases.

The largest month-over-month decrease in the level of employment occurred in New York, 81,700, followed by Texas, 44,700, California, 39,300, Wisconsin, 21,700, and Michigan, 21,500.

Even more telling, on a yearly basis, 46 states lost a statistically significant number of non-farm payroll jobs, with no states reporting statistically significant increases. California lost the most jobs during the year, 732,000, followed by Florida with 360,400, Michigan with 308,000 and Illinois with 306,900.