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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