Unemployment situation in most states much improved from a year ago

Forty-five states saw their jobless rates drop in November compared to a year before according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nationally, the jobless rate fell by 0.7 percentage points from November 2010 to 8.6 percent. Since hitting a peak of 10.1 percent in October 2009, the national unemployment rate has been falling slowly and unsteadily, but improvement sped up in November when the rate dropped 0.4 percentage points in just one month.  

 National Unemployment Rate, Nov. 2001 - Nov. 2011

Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Fifteen states had a year-over-year drop in their unemployment rate that was equal to or greater than 1.0 percentage point. New Mexico’s unemployment rate improved the most of any state, dropping 2.1 percentage points between November 2010 and November 2011. Florida and Nevada’s rates also improved significantly, both falling by 1.9 percentage points over the same time period.

Unfortunately, Nevada’s unemployment situation still remains dire even after the improvement: the state’s unemployment rate was the highest in country at 13 percent in November. North Dakota continued to have the lowest jobless rate in the country for November at 3.4 percent, followed by Nebraska (4.1 percent) and South Dakota (4.3 percent).

Only five states – Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi and North Carolina – saw an increase in their unemployment rates compared to last year. Those increases, however, were relatively small when compared to the gains made by most, ranging from increases of 0.1 to 0.6 percentage points.


State-by-State: Change in Unemployment Rates, Nov. 2010 - Nov. 2011

Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics