Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its report on the unemployment rates in each state.
The good news:
Alabama's unemployment rate in December was 9.1 percent, down from 10.9 percent a year ago. In comparison, the U.S. unemployment rate was 9.4 percent, down from 9.7 percent in December 2009. The leisure, hospitality, and health care industries all increased employment since November 2010.
The bad news:
No other industry had significant employment gains. And despite the encouraging unemployment rate decreases, 35 states actually lost jobs in December. Employment increased in only 15 states and the District of Columbia, which means that the majority of the states saw lower employment levels. This phenomenon is caused by an increase in discouraged workers, who are not working but are also no longer looking for work. The number of discouraged workers increased by 389,000 workers since this time last year.
Although Alabama's overall employment rate was down significantly from last year, it continues to suffer job losses at the second highest rate in the U.S., which does not bode well for the employment outlook for 2011. Alabama lost jobs at a .7 percent last month. Only Minnesota lost more jobs, at a .8 percent loss.
North Dakota has consistently enjoyed the lowest unemployment rate, and the latest figures are no different. North Dakota's January unemployment rate was 3.8 percent. Nebraska and South Dakota also experienced low unemployment rates, at 4.4 and 4.6 percent, respectively. Nevada has replaced Michigan as the state with the highest unemployment rate at 14.5 percent.
Although the unemployment rate remains high, there is some hope on the horizon. The most recent report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis indicates that GDP is growing at 2.6 percent. A growing economy will eventually require more workers to support the higher level of output, which is good news for job seekers.
For more unemployment information, click here: