Latest BLS regional and state unemployment figures released

Jobs report: in your regionSource: BLS

In February, the U.S. unexpectedly added 175,000 jobs to the economy — which was the first time since November that more than 129,000 jobs were added. The majority of U.S. states followed suit to the national surge. In total, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 33 states and decreased in 17 states, plus the District of Columbia.

Looking closer at February unemployment rates, 29 states saw decreases from January, 10 had increases, while 11 states plus the District of Columbia stayed the same. Impressively, 49 states plus the District of Columbia realized unemployment rate decreases from the previous year—further proof that the U.S. economy is strengthening at a steady, yet prolonged pace.

Regionally, the West had the highest unemployment rate in February—reporting at 7.2 percent—0.5 percent higher than the national rate. The South showed the lowest unemployment rate of 6.1 percent. Over the course of the year all four regions had remarkable unemployment rate declines—with the South and Northeast dropping 1.2 percent each, the West decreasing 1.1 percent, and the Midwest shedding 0.8 percentage points.

Here are some key divisional highlights from the “Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary — February 2014”:
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A closer look at the February BLS jobs report

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Source: BLS jobs report

For the first time since last November, the nation’s private sector gained over 150,000 jobs in February. Although the sector’s total job creation – 162,000 – was not large enough to lower the national unemployment rate, a majority of economists were pleasantly surprised by the figures.

In addition, public sector employment ticked up for the first time in three months, rising by 13,000, as state and local government employment increased significantly. Not only did the public sector’s employment statistics surpass economists’ expectations, but a majority of the private sector’s industries reported hiring gains, as evidenced below.
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February BLS report surprises, adds 175,000 jobs to economy

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Source: BLS

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the February 2014 unemployment report which shows an overall gain of 175,000 jobs and the unemployment rate inching backup to 6.7%. This data surprised most experts, who forecasted around 150,000 jobs being added.  In addition, revisions to prior months showed that December 2013 added 84,000 jobs — up from 75,000 — and January grew 129,000 jobs — up from 113,000.
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BLS regional and state annual averages report for 2013 released

Jobs report: in your region

Source: BLS 

In 2013, as evidenced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Regional and State Unemployment — 2013 Annual Averages” report, the unemployment rate decreased in 43 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia. It rose in only 2 states, and remained unchanged in 5 states. On average, the national rate fell 0.7 percent from the previous year, with December 2013 seeing the largest year-to-year rate drop of 1.2 percent. By the end of 2013, the national unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent — the lowest since October 2008 — and in January 2014, the rate inched down to 6.6 percent.

All four U.S. regions saw remarkable decreases in their unemployment rates, with the West having the largest drop of 1.2 percentage points. While the West had the largest decrease, it still was well above the national rate, at 8.0 percent. Conversely, the South region had the only unemployment rate significantly below the national average, at 7.0 percent.

Zooming into the 9 geographic divisions, 6 of them had notable year-to-year unemployment rate decreases. The largest decrease occurred in the Pacific — which dropped 1.4 percent, and the South Atlantic — which fell 1.0 percent. Just like its parent region the Pacific had the largest percentage drop, but unfortunately retained the highest national unemployment rate of 8.4 percent — an unwanted title it has owned for the sixth year in a row.
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Can we be optimistic after two straight disappointing BLS jobs reports?

Millennial indecisive about his job. He, like many other Gen Yers may be a job hopper.For the second straight month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Employment Situation” report showed a slowdown in U.S. job creation. In December only 75,000 jobs were added, followed by January’s increase of 113,000 — both significantly lower than the 2013 average monthly gain of 194,000.

The fact is that December was the weakest month for job creation since August 2012. Employers hired fewer employees than any other month since last June, and layoffs reached a four-month high of 109,000 — which broke a three-month streak of progress. When you see this information and pair it with the tepid job creation numbers, it’s understandable why many believe that economic recovery has truly lost momentum.

But is there a silver lining in these “not-so-great” numbers? Is there something that we can feel positive about? Certainly there is.

First, the Bureau of Labor Statistics ”The Employment Situation – January 2013” report revealed that 638,000 more people said that they had work last month over December. This helped to lower the national unemployment rate to 6.6 percent, making it 1.3 percent less than what it was a year ago, and the lowest it has been in more than five years.
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January 2014 BLS report shows 113,000 new jobs added, unemployment rate of 6.6%

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the January 2014 unemployment report with an overall gain of 113,000 jobs and a relatively unchanged unemployment rate of 6.6%.

With this data being the first indication as to how 2014 kicked off, many experts were looking towards the report for some sign as to how the economy was performing—the fourth quarter of 2013 showed robust growth, but eventually ended weaker than expected. In light of this, many were curious to see if employment numbers would spike back up, or continue the pattern seen at the end of last year.

Unfortunately, the report was not as strong as many hoped for, with a lukewarm gain of 142,000 new private sector jobs. Revisions for November and December showed an additional 34,000 jobs added to the economy, producing a slight silver lining.
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