The mantra for the October state employment statistics is little change from September. Over and over we see dropping unemployment rates yet too little significant growth in actual jobs. Only seven states had unemployment increases, six had no change and 35 plus the District of Columbia showed declines. Below is the BLS map of state's unemployment rates for October 2012.
There are now only three states with unemployment rates above 10%, Nevada at 11.5%, Rhode Island, at 10.4% and California with a 10.1% unemployment rate. Four other states have unemployment rates above 9%, New Jersey at 9.7%, North Carolina at 9.3%. Michigan has a 9.1% unemployment rate and Connecticut is 9.0%.
The states with the lowest unemployment rates are North Dakota at 3.1%, Nebraska at 3.8% and South Dakota with a 4.5% unemployment rate.
Payrolls on the other hand are another story. While jobs increased in 35 states plus the District of Columbia, payrolls actually shrank in 15. From the report are the most significant percentage changes per state from last month in jobs.
Utah experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment (+0.7 percent), followed by Louisiana and Montana (+0.6 percent each). Alaska and Rhode Island experienced the largest over-the-month percentage declines in employment (-0.5 percent each), followed by Kentucky and Michigan (-0.4 percent each).
Below is the BLS report table of significant changes in employment and the thing to notice is how small the changes are in comparison to the total payrolls of each state. California has 12% of the U.S. population and Texas is the next largest state. Michigan, on the other hand, with low population lost a significant number of jobs in October.
The over the year change isn't so great either in payrolls considering it's an entire year. While payrolls did increase in 43 states plus the District of Columbia, it's not by that much. Only North Dakota shows a 3.1% increase in payrolls from a year ago. Of the the states that have gained jobs in the past year, no other state increased payrolls above 3.0%.
Below is the BLS map for over the year percentage change of nonfarm payrolls per state. Eight states managed to increase jobs by 2.1% to 3.0%. Fourteen states increased payrolls by 1.1% to 2.0%. We can see 20 states plus the District of Columbia payrolls grew between 0.1% to 1.0% over an entire year. Seven states actually lost jobs or had no change from a year ago.
Another statistic available via tables are the civilian, non-institutionalized population to those actually employed ratios per state, tables here. Below is the BLS map for the annual 2011 population to employment ratios and October's rates haven't changed much from the below. One can see except really low ratios and the states in beige are the only ones with more normal percentages. What this implies is beyond the potential large populations of those in retirement, there are clearly large populations not being counted as part of the labor force who are capable of being so. In other words, in spite of the drop in official unemployment rates, basically most states labor markets are still horrific.
Here is last month's overview not revised. The BLS gives payrolls by state by large breakdown, such as manufacturing, so one can look up individual state data here. There was no mention of Superstorm Sandy in this report. We assume some of New Jersey's payroll losses were due to Sandy, which hit on October 29th.