The unemployment rates in nearly half of U.S. states decreased in December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Twenty-two states recorded a drop in their unemployment rates, while 16 states and the District of Columbia posted increases. Twelve states reported no change.
Over the past year, 42 states and the District of Columbia registered drops in their unemployment rates, while six states experienced increases and two states reported no change.
Regionally, the west recorded the highest unemployment rate in December, 8.6 percent, while the Midwest boasts the lowest, 7.1 percent.
After 34 months with the highest state unemployment rate, it was a sure bet that Nevada would again repeat in December. Bur its 10.2 unemployment rate marked a decrease from 10.8 percent in November. The state is now tied with Rhode Island, who own rate dropped to 10.2 percent from 10.4 percent.
North Dakota again repeated as the state with the lowest unemployment rate, 3.2 percent.
Other states recording declines in unemployment in December included Alabama (from 7.5 percent to 7.1 percent), Connecticut (from 8.9 percent to 8.6 percent), Idaho (from 6.8 percent to 6.6 percent), and Wyoming (from 5.1 percent to 4.9 percent).
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia reported “statistically significant” unemployment rate declines in December from a year ago. The largest of these was posted by Nevada (2.8 percent).
Half of the states reported jobless rates in December significantly lower than the U.S. national average of 7.8 percent. Eight states had higher rates, while 17 states and the District of Columbia had rates that were not markedly different.
Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia reported job gains in December, while the remainder reported job losses. New York boasts the largest over-the-month increase in employment (35,100), while California recorded the largest over-the-month decrease in jobs (17,500)