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?