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Unemployment Rate Falls Year-Over-Year in 42 States, D.C.

regional state employment and unemployment summaryThough regional and state unemployment rates changed little from September to October, 42 states and the District of Columbia saw year-over-year declines in their respective unemployment rates, according to the October 2014 Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary recently released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In October, the unemployment rate increased in only five states year-over-year (Alaska, Iowa, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Wyoming) while it held steady in three states from October 2013 to October 2014 (Alabama, North Dakota, and Vermont). Month-over-month, the unemployment rate decreased in 34 states plus the District of Columbia, increased in five states, and stayed the same in 11 states in October 2014, according to BLS. Georgia had the highest unemployment rate in October at 7.7 percent, while North Dakota had the lowest at 2.8 percent, according to BLS.

Thirty-eight states saw a month-over-month increase in nonfarm payroll employment in October, while 12 states and the District of Columbia saw employment decline during the month, BLS reported. California (41,500 jobs added), Texas (35,200 added) and Florida (34,400 added) had the largest increase from September to October. The largest monthly increases in employment, percentage-wise, occurred in Wyoming (gain of 1.4 percentage points), Idaho (plus 0.8), and Utah (plus 0.7).

The states with the largest decrease in employment from September to October were Nevada (minus 7,300 jobs), New York (minus 5,600), and New Jersey (minus 4,500), while the largest percentages of decrease in employment month-over-month occurred in Montana and Nevada (minus 0.6 percentage points each) and Rhode Island (minus 0.5 percentage points), according to BLS.

Year-over-year, Alaska was the only state that saw a decrease in nonfarm employment for October 2014. Alaska saw a decline of 0.2 percentage points, while the largest increases during that period occurred in North Dakota (plus 5.0 percentage points), Utah (plus 3.8 percent), and Texas (plus 3.7 percent), BLS reported.

All four regions of the U.S., the Midwest, Northeast, West, and South, all saw significant year-over-year declines in unemployment in October 2014, according to BLS. The Midwest and Northeast each saw a decline of 1.4 percentage points, while the unemployment rate fell by 1.2 percentage points in the West and 0.7 points in the South. The West had the highest regional unemployment rate at 6.5 percent in October, and the Midwest had the lowest rate (5.6 percent) during the month.

Earlier this month, BLS reported that the national unemployment rate for October hit a six-year low (5.8 percent) for the second month in a row, even though the number of jobs added for October (214,000) fell well short of expectations. The national unemployment rate for October is down 1.4 percentage points from October 2013, though that number may be skewed by the near record number of people designated as "not in the labor force" who do not have jobs but are not categorized as unemployed because they are not currently searching for a job.

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.
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