Regional and State Overview:
Looking to the BLS’ latest “Regional and State Employment and Unemployment” report, both regional and state unemployment rates saw little change in the United States during the month of November. 41 states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rate decreases from October, three states had increases, and six states had no change. Forty-three states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rate decreases from this time last year, four states had increases, and three states had no change.
Metro Area Overview:
Digging deeper into the November metro area numbers, unemployment rates were lower in November than a year earlier in 341 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 27 areas and unchanged in four areas. Yuma, Ariz. had the highest jobless rate in November (23.1 percent) and Lincoln, Neb. had the lowest jobless rate (2.1 percent). A total of 200 areas had unemployment rates below the U.S. average of 5.5 percent, 158 areas had rates above it, and 14 areas had rates equal to that of the nation.
In other positive news, 33 metropolitan divisions had over-the-year unemployment rate decreases in November. The largest decline occurred in Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (-2.6 percentage points). The only area where the unemployment rate increased was Tacoma, Wash.
Mississippi had the highest unemployment rate among the states in November, at 7.3 percent. The District of Columbia had a rate of 7.4 percent. North Dakota again had the lowest jobless rate at 2.7 percent. In total, 20 states had unemployment rates measurably lower than the U.S. figure of 5.8 percent, eight states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 22 states had rates that were not drastically different from that of the nation.
In November, 22 states had significant over-the-month unemployment rate declines. North Carolina had the largest decrease (-0.5 percentage point), followed by Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, and Michigan (-0.4 point each). The remaining 28 states and the District of Columbia had jobless rates that were not significantly different from those of October.
Twenty-eight states had statistically significant unemployment rate changes over the year, all of which were declines. The largest of these occurred in Illinois (-2.6 percentage points). The remaining 22 states and the District of Columbia had rates that were similar to those of a year earlier.
Check out these key regional highlights from the BLS “Regional and State Employment and Unemployment – November 2014” report:
By the end of November, the Mid-Atlantic region showed an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent (-0.3 from the previous month). Pennsylvania reported the lowest unemployment rate at 5.1 percent, while the District of Columbia had the highest at 7.4 percent. Within the region, State College, PA had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.3 percent. Philadelphia City, PA had the largest rate decline from a year earlier (-2.7 percentage points).
The Midwest region had a low unemployment rate at 5.4 percent (-0.2 percent) in the month of November. Leading the charge in this region was North Dakota, who had the lowest unemployment rate of 2.7 percent. Over the past year, Illinois has seen the largest net change in unemployment, with a drop of -2.6 in the last 12 months. Michigan had the highest unemployment rate at 6.7 (-0.4 from the previous month).
The Mountain-Plains region had an unemployment rate of 5.3 percent in November. By month’s end, Colorado realized the largest unemployment rate decrease in the region with a 2.2 percent decrease from the previous year (-0.2 points from the previous month). Missouri had the highest unemployment rate at 5.6 percent (-0.3 percentage points from the previous month). Utah continues to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, with 3.6 percent (unchanged from the previous month).
The New England region showed a 0.1 percent decrease in their unemployment rate, dropping to 5.8. Rhode Island saw one of the largest over-the-month percentage declines in employment, dropping -0.3 percent to 7.1, however it still had the highest unemployment rate in the region. New Hampshire recorded the lowest unemployment rate of the region, as it dropped 0.1 percent to 4.1 percent in November.
The Southeast region had an unemployment rate of 6.4. Florida had the lowest overall unemployment rate in the region, at 5.8 percent, while Mississippi had the highest unemployment rate with 7.3 percent; and Georgia was closely behind with 7.2 percent. The metro area with the lowest unemployment rate was Asheville, NC, at 4.0 percent.
The Southwest region’s unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage points from last month, to 5.1 percent. Arkansas had a significant over-the-month decrease, declining from 6.1 to 5.8 percent unemployment. Louisiana had the highest jobless rate, rising 0.3 percentage points to 6.5 percent (+0.9 percent over the last year), while Oklahoma had the lowest unemployment rate at 4.4 percent (-1.1 percent over the last year).
The West had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country at 6.4 percent. Within the region, Idaho touted the lowest unemployment rate of 3.9. Once again, California has the highest unemployment rate at 7.2. The Logan, UT-ID metro area had the lowest unemployment rate in the region at 2.5 percent.
New York led the way in December with an unemployment rate of 5.9 percent, followed by New Jersey at 6.4 percent and Puerto Rico at 14 percent.