The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the August regional and state unemployment rates today, showing little changed from July. The national jobless rate stood at 7.3 percent.
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia hand unemployment rate increases, 17 had decreases and 15 had no change. Most states (36) and the District of Columbia had lower unemployment rates than a year earlier. Of the other 14, 12 had higher unemployment rates.
New York and California had the largest month-over-month increase in employment, with 30,400 and 29,100, respectively. Showing the largest decrease in employment were Georgia, Ohio and Arizona, 16,100, 8,200 and 7,900, respectively. On our side of the country, the West (made up of the Mountain and Pacific divisions), continued to have the highest regional unemployment rate, 8.0 percent, while the South had the lowest at 7.2 percent. The Pacific geographic division (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington) also headed the list as the highest jobless rate at 8.4 percent. It is still better than a year previous at 9.8 percent.
Washington unemployment decreased significantly from a year ago, dropping to 7.0 percent from 8.2 percent, adding 64,300 jobs over the year. There were a number of states that had rates significantly different than the national average. Showing very low rates were North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Hawaii with rates of 3.0, 3.8, 4.2, and 4.3, respectively. Higher than average rates were recorded for Nevada, Illinois, Rhode Island, and Michigan, all over 9 percent.
The labor force and unemployment data are based on the same concepts and definitions as those used for the official national estimates obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a sample survey of households that is conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau.
About the author: Fred Chamberlin was a senior loan officer with Guild Mortgage Company in Oak Harbor. He was in the mortgage origination business for over 20 years and in the lending business for over 30 and authors a number of mortgage related blogs.