Unemployment Rate Little Changed in August

The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show that state unemployment rates changed very little in August 2011, with all 45 states staying within 0.2 percentage points (+/-) of their July rate. A majority of states (45) recorded unemployment rates in August that were not appreciably different from those reported a year earlier. Nevada remained the state with the highest unemployment rate at 13.4 percent. The national rate stayed the same at 9.1 percent, but fell 0.5 percentage points over August 2010.

Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia saw their unemployment rates increase over July, although most of those states (21) increased by 0.2 percentage points or less. Nevada fared the worst, with a 0.5 percentage point increase, followed by Pennsylvania (+0.4) and Illinois (+0.4). An additional 12 states recorded no rate change and 12 states recorded rate decreases, with Louisiana dropping the most (-0.4 percentage points).  

August 2011 Unemployment Rates, Monthly and Yearly Change in Rates

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

For many states, rates have not changed much over the past year. Thirty-seven states saw unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, 11 states and the District of Columbia had increases, and two states experienced no change. Although year-over-year unemployment rates shifted slightly, a majority of states (45) recorded unemployment rates that were not appreciably different from those reported a year earlier. New Mexico saw the biggest drop since August 2010, falling by 1.9 percentage points, while The District of Columbia posted the only significant rate increase from a year earlier (+1.3 percentage points).

Nevada remained the state with the highest unemployment rate at 13.4 percent, followed by California at 12.1 percent. North Dakota led the states with the lowest jobless rate at 3.5 percent, just ahead of Nebraska with a rate of 4.2 percent.

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