The BLS releases its annual “Regional and State Unemployment” report

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Regional and State Unemployment

On March 1st, the BLS published its “Regional and State Unemployment – 2012 Annual Averages” report, which featured information regarding regional unemployment rates and employment-population ratios.

The report revealed that joblessness declined in three of the nation’s four primary regions, including the Midwest, South, and West, from 2011 to 2012. When compared to the average unemployment rates from 2011, jobless rates in the Midwest, South and West decreased by 0.9, 1.1, and 1.2 percent, respectively, in 2012. The only region that did not report a decline, the Northeast, recorded an average jobless rate of 8.2 percent – unchanged from 2011.

In the meantime, three of the four regions documented a rise in their average, annual employment-population ratios, which measure the proportion of Americans aged 16 or over who are presently employed, either part-time or full-time.

In the Midwest, the employment-population ratio rose from 60.3 in 2011 to 60.5 in 2012, The ratio ticked upward from 57.6 to 57.9 in the South and rose marginally in the West from 57.6 to 57.7. The Northeast’s employment-population ratio lingered at 58.7 for the second straight year.

Furthermore, the report issued the below data around regional employment-population ratios, unemployment rates, and employment figures.

  • Mid–Atlantic: The Mid-Atlantic’s employment-population ratio augmented slightly last year, rising from 57.7 in 2011 to 57.8 in 2012. 1.8 million residents were without work, as the region’s unemployment rate also rose, from 8.4 to 8.5 percent. Nonetheless, the region’s civilian labor force and total employment also increased, rising to 20.7 million and 18.9 million, respectively.
  • Midwest: The Midwest’s jobless rate declined considerably, from 8.3 percent in 2011 to 7.4 percent in 2012. Although total employment rose to 31.6 million in 2012, the civilian labor force decreased to 34.1 million. But, the region’s employment-population ratio did increase, rising from 60.3 to 60.5.
  • Mountain: The Mountain region’s unemployment rate also fell, dropping from 8.9 to 7.9 percent. Even though the region’s employment-population ratio declined from 59.3 to 59.2, the total number of unemployed residents diminished, falling to 867,000, while the total number of employed residents rose to 10.2 million.
  • New England: New England’s jobless rate and employment-population ratio each decreased from 2011 to 2012, declining to 7.2 percent and 61.3, respectively. The region’s total number of unemployed residents also contracted, falling to 560,000. However, New England’s civilian labor force also diminished, signifying the region’s economic recovery is far from complete.
  • South: Many economists were pleased with the South’s latest employment data, as the region’s unemployment rate decreased sharply, from 8.8 percent in 2011 to 7.7 percent in 2012. In concert, the region’s civilian labor force and total number of employed residents grew to 56.5 million and 52.2 million, respectively.
  • West: The West’s employment-population ratio improved slightly last year, rising from 57.6 to 57.7. But, the region’s noticeable decline in joblessness was perhaps the most encouraging news of the year, as the West’s unemployment rate shrank from 10.4 percent in 2011 to 9.2 percent in 2012. In all, 3.3 million residents were unemployed, a decrease of 409,000 compared to 2011.

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