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Unemployment Rate Falls in Most States, But Changes Little Overall

Forty-one states and the District of Columbia experienced month-over-month declines in their unemployment rate, while 43 states and the District of Columbia saw year-over-year decreases in unemployment for November, according to the Regional and State Employment and Unemployment November 2014 report released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Overall, however, regional and state unemployment rates changed little in November, according to BLS. The national unemployment rate stayed the same from October to November at 5.8 percent, although it was down by 1.2 percentage points from November 2013.

The state with the highest unemployment rate for November was Mississippi, at 7.3 percent, although District of Columbia was slightly higher at 7.4 percent, according to BLS. The state with the lowest unemployment rate during the month, just as in October, was North Dakota at 2.7 percent. In all, 20 states had unemployment rates significantly lower than the national average of 5.8 percent during November, while eight states plus the District of Columbia had unemployment rates significantly higher than the national average. The unemployment rate in 22 states was not appreciably different from the national rate in November.

Meanwhile, 22 states experienced significant month-over-month declines in unemployment rate in November, while 28 states saw significant year-over-year decreases, according to BLS. The largest month-over-month declines occurred in North Carolina (0.5 percentage points) and Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, and Michigan (0.4 percentage points each). The largest year-over-year declines in unemployment rate occurred in Illinois (2.6 percentage points), Rhode Island (2.3 percentage points), and Ohio, Nevada, and Colorado (2.2 percentage points each).

Employment increased in 37 states and the District of Columbia in November, with the largest month-over-month increase in job gains occurring in California (90,100), Florida (41,900), and Texas (34,800), according to BLS. The largest month-over-month declines occurred in West Virginia (5,200), Mississippi (4,500), and Kansas (4,100). The largest month-over-month increase in percentage of employment happened in Vermont (1.2 percent), while the largest decline happened in West Virginia (0-7 percent), BLS reported. The largest year-over-year increase in percentage of employment in November occurred in North Dakota (4.8 percent). The largest year-over-year increase in number of jobs added in November occurred in Texas (441,200), according to BLS.

Of the four regions, the West had the highest unemployment rate in November at 6.4 percent, while the Midwest featured the lowest unemployment rate at 5.4 percent, BLS reported. The Pacific region had the highest employment rate (6.9 percent) out of the nine geographic regions, while the West North Central had the lowest unemployment rate at 4.3 percent, according to BLS.

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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