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Little Change In March Unemployment Rates

Regional and state unemployment rates remained stagnant for March, with 24 states reporting increases, 17 and the District of Columbia claiming decreases and nine states having no change.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports nonfarm payroll employment increased in 33 states and the District of Columbia, and decreased in 17 states, with the largest over-the-month increase in employment happening in Maryland (+35,800), followed by Virginia (+24,500), Pennsylvania (+22,600), Indiana (+16,600), and New York (+11,700).

The largest over-the-month decreases in employment occurred in Michigan (-9,500), Nevada (-7,100), and Florida (-4,000). Nevada and Vermont experienced the largest over-the-month percentage decrease in employment (-0.6 percent each), followed by New Hampshire and New Mexico (-0.3 percent each). Over the year, nonfarm employment decreased in 47 states and increased in 3 states and the District of Columbia. The largest over-the-year percentage decreases occurred in Nevada (-4.6 percent), Wyoming (-3.5 percent), Arizona (-3.3 percent), and California (-3.2 percent).

The West reported the highest regional jobless rate in March, 11.0 percent, while the Northeast recorded the lowest rate, 9.1 percent. The rate in the West set a new series high. No region experienced a statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate change. All four regions registered significant rate increases from a year earlier: the West (+1.5 percentage points), South (+1.4 points), Northeast (+1.3 points), and Midwest (+1.0 point).

Among the nine geographic divisions, the Pacific continued to report the highest unemployment rate, 11.9 percent in March. The East North Central recorded the next highest jobless rate, 11.4 percent. The West North Central registered the lowest rate, 7.3 percent, followed by the West South Central, 7.9 percent. The Pacific rate set a new series high, as did the South Atlantic rate (10.6 percent). No division experienced a statistically significant unemployment rate change from a month earlier.

Michigan again recorded the highest unemployment rate among the states, 14.1 percent in March. The states with the next highest rates were Nevada, 13.4 percent; California and Rhode Island, 12.6 percent each; Florida, 12.3 percent; and South Carolina, 12.2 percent. North Dakota continued to register the lowest jobless rate, 4.0 percent in March, followed by South Dakota and Nebraska, 4.8 and 5.0 percent, respectively. The rates in California, Florida, and Nevada set new series highs, as did the rate in Georgia (10.6 percent). In total, 24 states posted jobless rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 9.7 per-cent, 11 states and the District of Columbia had measurably higher rates, and 15 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

The Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment news release for March is scheduled to be released on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 and the Regional and State Employment and Unemployment news release for April is scheduled to be released on Friday, May 21, 2010.

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