AP: State unemployment continues to grow.
Yesterday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its report on the unemployment rates in each state. Alabama unemployment rate was 11 percent, up from 10.5 percent in November. In comparison the U.S. unemployment rate was 10 percent, virtually unchanged from 10.1 percent in November.
Although Alabama's unemployment rate is only slightly higher than the U.S. average, its rate of increase has been much higher. In 2009, Alabama had the third highest increase in unemployment rates.
Alabama's unemployment rate increased by 4.5 percentage points in 2009. Only Nevada and West Virginia had unemployment rates that increased by a larger margin. Both of these states' unemployment rates increased by 4.6 percentage points.
North Dakota finished out the year with the lowest unemployment rate, at 4.4 percent. Michigan finished out the year with the highest unemployment rate, at 14.6 percent. Michigan's unemployment rate in December was a vast improvement over the 15.5 rate the state had experienced over the previous two months. Its rate of job losses are beginning to slow.
Encouraging economic news was released yesterday by the Conference Board as well. The Conference Board reported that its Index of Leading Economic Indicators increased by 1.1% in December, which exceeded expectations. This index has improved for nine straight months, giving us reason to believe that the worst economic conditions might now be over.
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