Area Development
Unemployment rates were generally little changed or slightly lower at the regional and state levels last month, according to a new U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Thirty-nine states recorded unemployment rate decreases, three states and the District of Columbia registered rate increases, and eight states had no rate change.

Forty-six states and the District of Columbia posted unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, three states reported increases, and one state had no change, noted the federal government report. The national jobless rate nudged up by 0.2 percentage point between March and April to 9.0 percent, but was 0.8 point lower than a year earlier.

In the month of April, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 42 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in eight states. The biggest over-the-month increase in employment happened in New York (+45,700), followed by Texas (+32,900), Pennsylvania (+23,700), Massachusetts (+19,500), and Florida (+14,900).

Over the year, nonfarm employment increased in 46 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 4 states. The largest over-the-year percentage increase occurred in North Dakota (+3.9 percent), followed by Alaska and Texas (+2.5 percent each) and Nebraska (+1.9 percent).

Meanwhile, this past April, American employers took 1,564 mass-layoff actions involving 143,927 workers according to a new report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Each mass-layoff action involved at least 50 workers from a single employer. The number of mass-layoff events in April increased by 278 from March, as the number of associated initial claims increased by 25,404.

Eleven of the 19 major industry sectors in the private economy reported year-over-year declines in initial claims, with the largest decreases occurring in manufacturing, information, and professional and technical services.

Specifically, the manufacturing sector reported 327 mass layoffs in April resulting in 35,022 initial claims; both figures were increases from March. The national unemployment rate was 9.0 percent in April, up from 8.8 percent in March but down from 9.8 percent a year earlier.

Not seasonally adjusted, the number of mass layoffs in April was 1,750, resulting in 189,919 initial claims. The number of mass layoffs was down by 90 from April 2010, and associated initial claims decreased by 9,771.