When all you read is gloom, turn here for a much different perspective.

Friday, May 22, 2009

21 States See Unemployment Fall in April

This week the government's data showed that unemployment actually fell in 21 states in April. Additionally 11 states saw their unemployment numbers hold steady rather than rise. Given that the unemployment rate rose in 46 states in March, the April state numbers are further evidence that the labor market is stabilizing.

Here are highlights from 10 of those 21 states where employment is improving...

- Missouri saw the biggest drop in unemployment, with it's rate falling 0.6 percent to 8.1 percent in April.

- Wisconsin’s unemployment rate fell to 8.8 percent, compared to 9.4 percent in March.

- Arizona’s jobless rate fell to 7.7 percent in April, down slightly from its 7.8 percent reading in March.

- Colorado's unemployment rate also dropped a tenth of a percentage point in April from the previous month. It was the first month-to-month decrease in the state since October 2007. The April statewide rate registered 7.4 percent.

- The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent in April from 8.2 percent in March in Minnesota. It was the first rate decline in a year for that state.

- California's jobless rate improved slightly from 11.2 percent in March to 11.0 percent in April. In the San Francisco area including San Mateo and Marin counties, the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent in April from 8.6 percent in March. In addition to the rate drop, San Francisco, which has one of the state's strongest labor markets, also added jobs in April. Further, unemployment fell from 11.3% to 11.0% in Los Angeles County.

- Indiana's unemployment rate dropped slightly to 9.9 percent in April from 10.0 the month before. Notably unemployment rates fell significantly in most of northeast Indiana in April, compared with March. Specifically Allen County’s jobless rate fell to 9.5 percent in April from 10.8 percent in March.

- Florida's jobless rate in April was 9.6 percent, two-tenths of a percentage point below March's revised rate of 9.8 percent.

- Wisconsin’s unemployment rate fell in April to 8.8 percent, compared to 9.4 percent in March.

- New York State's unemployment rate fell from 7.8 percent in March to 7.7 percent in April. In the Big Apple unemployment also declined, dropping from 8.1 percent in March 2009 to 8.0 in April 2009. Outside of New York City, the unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in April 2009, down from March's 7.6 percent.

As employment continues to improve in coming months, you'll be the first to remember that it was the peak in initial claims for unemployment that marked the 2008-2009 recession's end.


  1. It's interesting that back in November the Fed was predicting peak unemployment at about 7.6% and even gloomy Roubini said the peak would be 9%. I've seen some predictions now that it might go as high as 12%. Is there really any way to accurately predict unemployment rates?

  2. >Is there really any way to accurately predict unemployment rates?

    Not really... in my opinion...
    you may remember the post the majority is always wrong.When it comes to economics (and unemployment rates in particular), the consensus opinions are likely to be incorrect.


  3. I wonder if this has anything to do with part-time summer employment hiring and seasonality???

    Just a thought.

  4. Eldon, there is no statistical significance to your analysis. The BLS is only prepared to state that at the 90% confidence level, 4 states (West Virginia, Ohio, Rhode Island & Kansas) had month over month unemployment rate increases and 2 states (Missouri & Nebraska) had decreases.

  5. Actually it is not my analysis. The data comes directly from news reports that cover each state. The unemployment rate is one of those economic numbers that rarely has "statistical significance" from month to month... no matter which direction it happens to be moving. The reality is however that when the rate ticks up several tenths of a percent, the news reports the rate as rising, regardless of the confidence levels, standard deviations, or margins of statistical error. When they tick down, I'll choose to report that too... particularly when it happens in 21 states.


  6. Oh well. Report the statistically insignificant green shoots in the household survey and ignore the statistically significant yellow weeds in the establishment survey.

  7. @Anonymous,

    This blog is about good news and green shoots, not yellow weeds. Readers can find that stuff elsewhere. In fact by the media's own admission that is what they choose to report. If you read the tag line at the very top of the page, you may be surprised to find a note that states "no gloom and doom here."

    To push your analogy a bit too far: Most gardeners know that even if the weeds are statistically significant at points throughout the summer, ultimately the green shoots will prevail. Why? Because the good gardener takes action usually yanking them out by the root.

    Good luck fostering those weeds.



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