Finance

Unemployment Rises in a Third of US States

Unemployment rates increased in 15 U.S. states in December, up by three from the prior month, but was unchanged in the majority of states and the District of Columbia, a report showed Tuesday.

Nonfarm payroll employment levels, meanwhile, remained essentially unchanged in all states last month from November, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. From a year earlier, employment rose in 30 states while remaining essentially unchanged in 20 others and DC.

Massachusetts and Rhode Island experienced a 0.3 percentage point increase in unemployment, the greatest month-over-month rise among states. Minnesota’s unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage point, the only state to experience a decrease.

Maryland and North Dakota had the lowest jobless rates at 1.9%. Nevada had the highest unemployment rate, remaining unchanged from November’s 5.4%.

The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7% in December, the report said. The economy added 216,000 jobs in December, up from November’s 173,000 added.

Thirteen states and D.C. have unemployment rates at or above 4%, the highest count since December 2022. That includes three of six key battleground states in this year’s presidential election: Michigan, Nevada and Arizona.

Nationally, the jobless rate remains near the lowest levels since the 1960s. That, along with job participation and wage growth are set to be key talking points in President Joe Biden’s bid for re-election in what polls suggest will be a rematch with former President Donald Trump.

Biden needs to win the support of workers in swing states like Michigan. Last year he joined striking United Auto Workers members on the picket line in their walkouts against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, the first for a sitting president, after pressure from Michigan Democrats.

For the week ended Jan. 10, Biden had a lead against Trump by 4 percentage points in the state, according to data compiled by polling analysis site 538.


© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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