Unemployment rates by state

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The story “Nearly 1,100 candidates apply for 50 full-time jobs open at Joliet distribution center” in the Chicago Tribune depicts a scene you can probably find in any city around the country. In Chicago suburb Joliet, a new distribution center for a grocery supplier drew far more job seekers than position. Even though the chief executive of the company says he’ll hire 100 people for 50 positions, as he expects half of the employees to quit due to the tough conditions of the role, the job seekers still handily outnumbered the opportunities.

To describe some unemployed job seekers as eager would be an understatement. Look at the recently released regional and state employment figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and you can easily understand why workers are easy to get back to the daily grind. The numbers show promise, but they also show that we have a long road ahead of us.

For example, in 35 states, November-December employment decreased, with New York losing the most at 22,800 jobs. However, Texas saw the largest increase of 20,000 positions and South Carolina had a boost of 9,000 jobs. In month-over-month figures, only 15 states experienced an increase.

Although workers feel the immediate pinch or relief of monthly employment figures, year-over-year numbers are better for identifying long-term trends. In 31 states and Washington, D.C., unemployment rates in December 2010 decreased compared to one year before. Only 16 states reported increases and three states saw no change. Any decrease is certainly a good decrease when it comes to the unemployment level, and 25 states have lower unemployment rates than the national rate. Nevada still has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, with 14.5 percent, while North Dakota has the lowest at 3.8 percent.

What’s interesting is that, despite Texas having the best job creation for the month, it isn’t part of the region with the best unemployment figures. According to regional figures, the west claims the highest unemployment rate at 10.9 percent while the northeast boasts the lowest unemployment rate at 8.4 percent.

You can read the full release here, which is worth a look if you want to see how your state stacks up. (You can also click the map to the left to view a larger size.)

Let us know if you or the job seekers you know have experienced the same year-over-year changes in your state. Do you think it will improve in the next 12 months?

40 Comments
    • NY’s numbers are slightly skewed by the closing of the OTB, which added several thousand layoffs; NY’s been genearlly adding jobs essentially every month for a year now.

      Funny how the high tax, high cost of living NE US has the lowest average unemployment though. Kinda says something about Kenysian economics versus Supply Side idiocy…

      • The population rate in the North East is declining. NY is losing 2 congressional seats Texas is gaining 2. That why the rate is the lowest. People are smart enough to get out!

  1. 25 states have lower than average unemployment rates?? Wait a minute……that must mean 25 states have a HIGHER than average rate? Let’s see…Hmmmm….. Half higher and half lower …….. I wonder how AVERAGE might fit into this….. Hmmmmmm….. aw, screw it – as long as there’s a snappy headline, why inject logic into anything?

    Gotta love the products of journalism schools, right?

    • T–no, it doesn’t have to be 25 higher and 25 lower. Quite a few could have right at the average, one or two could be really high, and substantially less than 25 could have lower than average rates.

      Here’s an example: 2, 4, 4, 4, 18. The average is about 6, I think. Well, you check. My math is worse than average.

    • The number that they are reporting on are only those that have applied or are receiving unemployment.
      It does not count the million plus since Dec 31, 2010, that are no longer receiving.
      UNEMPLOYMENT is really about 15% (receiving and not)

    • JR aint that the truth but screwed would be a better term. they should extend the 99 weeks. i have been looking for work for bout a year now my unemployment ran out in november so now im really screwed i live in so. cali now this chinese new yew year slows everything down even more. let me change places with one of those republicans making bucks for 1 year see how they survive.

      • I was on unemployment until my company called me back. Of course I had to take a very serious pay cut, while the GM got more and even gave the spouse, who doesn’t work for the company, some great benefits, like a new car. Tells you how this country is being ran into the ground. At my age I had to go out of retirement because the Government that promised “Change” did just that. My wife and I noticed more taxes coming out of our SSI, income, our health insurance going up, and our simple salary taxes at about 20% more. All in the governments pockets. Throw all the bums out before it’s too late.

  2. This is exactly the type of widespread disinformation propaganda the “big machine” (read: administration, congress, wall street and shill media) wants you to believe.

    FOOD STAMP USE JUST HIT AN “ALL TIME” RECORD OF 44 MILLION!!

    Tell a lie enough and the masses will believe.

    Rome is burning America wake up!

  3. IDK about you but i live in Elkhart county in Indiana, unless your in the medical field or have 10+ years experience as a maintenance electrician,plant supervisor, or truck driver your SOL.

    online @ monster.com and careerbuilder.com has 90% fake fill in job posting such as work at home and Scam temp hiring agency that’s charge you money to get a job.

    Local paper is less than a page long where also postings of scam temp hiring agencys that charge and a few higher skilled postings that can only help out a tiny fraction of the unemployed here.

    We just dipped below 135 unemployemt…first time since ’08…it’s now at 12.8%

    totally unacceptable! HEY GOP…WHERE’S THE JOBS YOU PROMISED…oh wait, your not even trying to create a environment for it..

    • RS, you would think with all the stimulus money your man spread around you wouldn’t have a problem finding a high quality, high paying job. Since all that money was wasted on bailouts and payoffs there’s not any left to stimulate job growth. Go ahead, believe the government is going to be there for you, provide for your family and give you the health care you deserve. And while you still have that 2008 tingling feeling flowing through your veins, thank your kids and grand kids for paying your share of the national debt since you don’t have a job to pay your fair share.

  4. i agree BS…that’s probably why they are making so many Fema prisons all over….they know people are going to riot and freak out when we fall to third world status and have 200 million poor people with nothing.

  5. Of course the unemployment rate is down! There are large numbers of people who’ve run the course with their benefits and others who’re being dropped from the rolls as we speak. The paper in my town has maybe a half of a half of a column page of job listings. Almost everything is part time starting out with 8 hours per week. Since the state has dropped a lot of programs that help low income, even more people have been drastically challenged. Food banks are crying for more donations. Churches are strained to the limits. On the corner instead of 1 or 2 people standing with “Help Me” signs now there are 2 to 4 people on each corner. The retail parking lots are slowly filling up with people who live in their cars looking for a “safe” place to sleep at night. Warming centers are overloaded and several families are living under one roof. Nicer items have disappeared from the shelves in the stores because people just don’t have the money for anything extra. More people are sick and helpless to do anything about it since medical care is out of reach. My state cut the mental health care for low income and medicare patients. It’s pretty sad when you see families going hungry and without heat because they’re underemployed but still not eligible for any kind of help. Something has GOT to CHANGE for the better!

  6. That is correct. Those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits are not counted as among the unemployed. Also, those who have only a part time job are not counted. That does not make their situation any more promising, for them, at least. When will the business people in this natioin wake up to the fact that if they wish people to spend money, then they must have money to spend.? When will they wake up to the fact that workers must be hired in order to make a living? When will they wake up to the fact that the unemployment insurance cow that they have been milking will soon be dry, and already is dry for many workers, aka consumers? Until they wake up to these simple facts, the current economic depression will continue to worsen, and eventually they will have no busuness in this nation at all. Enough said.

  7. It’s sad that our government thinks every one is so stupid. They come up with these numbers that are all lies. The states who were hit the earliest are the ones with the lowest unemployment. Because they have the most people who have exhausted their benefits.Wake up America >>>Why do we give money to other country’s to help when they have problems? When we have KIDS still starving in ours. The RICH get RICHER. The POOR DIE. It’s a wonderful thing.

  8. It is getting smaller ONLY because the 99er’s have ran out of benefits. When are you people going to get the the facts right? Do your job and report the REAL truth. Millions of Americans are getting nothing, they have fallen off of the radar because you don’t want the rest of the country to know how bad it really is.

      • Beachbum, you need to understand that using the term, “The rich get the tax breaks” you are partially thinking correctly, but not totally. When you have more money than the lower and middle class, it’s because we earned it. To give you an example. we have purchased several properties. All these properties give us a tax break, BUT we are paying mortgages on these properties. We also know where to put our money to protect if from the Governments greedy hands. Now please don’t blame us for working the majority of our lives, knowing how to save money and staying at the job we got, when we got out of college. No one can blame, anyone but themself, for failure or success of life. As the old saying goes, ” You are in charge of your own destiny ” That being said, people should knwo the WE are the economy and the Government can do nothing to help spark it buy just handing us money, or a temporary job, through a stimulus payment. American is not the Manufacturing Giant it use to be, so getting the servicing sent out to the country, is just the same as the Government saying, “You are on your own, Deal with it.”

      • Here is a frightening thought, I would like to share with you. All the countries that purchase OIL, MUST pay for it in U.S. currency. If those countries get together and say they will NO longer use the U.S. currency, America will have nothing left to do, but file Bankruptcy. Why. Because the value of the dollar will bottom out, and what you have, left over, in saving or anything that is currency is worth NOTHING. The government can print all the money they want and it’s worth NOTHING. Now think about what would happen, if that were to happen. It’s not pretty.

  9. It also does not speak of the end of the stimulas money where thousands are now being laid off with thousands more to come..I am in that boat…come Oct the end of the money is there and my job will be gone as there is no money..
    was laid off for 6 months before and got picked up thank god for a while…
    But as the money goes away so thus the jobs.. I have written my state senator and asked for a reply to my question of what now??? and still no reply…
    go figure…

  10. With people falling off the unemplyment rolls because the money has run out, what do they expect the numbers to do? What is this, a “make you feel good” headline? Tell that to the people who have nothing anymore, because Washington wants to do nothing but play politics instead of getting people back to work. Hey MSM, drop the feel good crap, and tell the real story why the numbers are dropping. Try a headline like, People running out of benefits cause the unemployment numbers to drop. MSM, try being upfront with people, they can take it, stop with the half a–ed headlines.

  11. Well our “Sputnik moment” might be coming soon. It will be marked by half the population living on food stamps. Funny how the rich just keep getting richer off of “corporate welfare” in the form of most large US corporations paying zero taxes, even though they’re based here in the US. “But their employees pay taxes”, you might say. Unfortunately, in many cases the bulk of their employees are overseas. Cheap Indian and Chinese employees don’t pay US taxes. And because it’s the law that US corporations pay taxes, they should — just like the rest of us. If the middle class continues to be ignored while the rich get all the tax breaks, corporate bailouts, no punishment for destroying the US economy, etc., I’m concerned my fellow Americans might get very, very upset with the status quo that has been working out so very well for a small percentage of the population.

  12. Im glad to see few were fooled by this propaganda type article. People are getting more informed every day. They no longer believe everything media puts out.
    I wonder how aol will come off with Huffington at the helm???

  13. I too will be getting my last unemployment check in a few weeks. I have no savings and retirement is all gone. And in a few months we will be living in our pickup, thankfully it has a canopy.
    However, the one thing we won’t loose is our right to vote. AND ALL YOU INCUMBANTS BE WARNED, “WER’E MAD AS HELL AND WON’T TAKE IT ANYMORE”.

  14. The only reason the unemployment rate is higher in some of the southern states (ie, Texas and Florida) is because people moving from the North to the South. This makes those states numbers look worst.

    Those two example states also have no state income tax.

  15. If everyone just would get together and STOP paying Taxes, the government would go broke and we would be in control, BUT, getting everyone, or even enough people to do that won’t happen. Many of you saw what it takes to get the government to step down, from the turmoil in Egypt. Only when the majority of the people are down and out, will the come together to make a change.

    • Tom, you are absolutley right.I too live in the inland empire.To those of you that don’t know where the inland empire is , it’s about 30 clicks east of Los Angeles.We have so many homeless they’ve set up “tent cities” in some towns.And check this out America,you have to be a resident of that city!How can you be a”resident ” if you have no home to reside in?I’LL tell ya something,you don’t think what’s happening half a world away will have no effect on the U.S.It’s coming and we the people of the united states of America better be prepared.

  16. Pingback: Freshers Yaar! » Blog Archive » Best and worst cities for jobs

  17. Bad things are coming and most people are still just doing what they do living their lives as if nothing is wrong. Lazy, spoiled sheep. We should be in the streets protesting and we are not. We just sit here watching these liars and theives rape the country and keep on spending. I have a great deal of admiration for the people in the middle east that have taken to the streets in protest against truly evil dictatorships. At least they have the backbone to speak up and do something about it. It’s about time. We should be doing the same thing. We need to clean out Washington. Those FEMA camps were built just for that reason.

  18. Does anyone else think that the media is saying the unemployment rates are down only because people’s unemployment benefits are running out? they don’t mention that benefits are running out though….

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