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Jobless rates down in 48 states in 2011; employment-population ratios down in 24 states

REGIONAL AND STATE UNEMPLOYMENT -- 2011 ANNUAL AVERAGES


In 2011, annual average unemployment rates declined in 48 states and rose in 2 states
and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Employment-population ratios decreased in 24 states and the District of Columbia,
increased in 19 states, and were unchanged in 7 states. The U.S. jobless rate in
2011 was 8.9 percent, down 0.7 percentage point from the prior year. The national
employment-population ratio continued to trend down to 58.4 percent in 2011.

Regional Unemployment

All four regions posted statistically significant unemployment rate decreases in 
2011. The Midwest experienced the greatest decline (-1.1 percentage points), 
followed by the West (-0.6 point) and the Northeast and South (-0.5 point each). The 
West, at 10.4 percent, registered the only jobless rate significantly higher than 
that of the U.S. in 2011. The Northeast and Midwest, at 8.2 and 8.4 percent, 
respectively, both had rates significantly below the national figure. (See table 1.)

Eight of the 9 geographic divisions reported statistically significant over-the-year 
unemployment rate changes in 2011, all of which were decreases. The largest of these 
occurred in the East North Central (-1.3 percentage points) and New England 
(-0.8 point). For the fourth year in a row, the Pacific recorded the highest 
unemployment rate, 11.0 percent in 2011. The next highest rates were in the East South 
Central and South Atlantic, 9.4 and 9.3 percent, respectively. The rates of these
three divisions were significantly above the U.S. average. The West North Central
division again posted the lowest jobless rate, 6.6 percent. Three other
divisions--the Middle Atlantic, New England, and West South Central--also had rates 
significantly below the national figure.

State Unemployment

In 2011, 30 states posted statistically significant unemployment rate decreases, the 
largest of which was in Michigan (-2.4 percentage points). Four additional states 
experienced decreases greater than 1.0 percentage point: Ohio (-1.4 points), Utah 
(-1.3 points), Oregon (-1.2 points), and Indiana (-1.1 points). The remaining 20 
states and the District of Columbia reported annual average unemployment rates for
2011 that were not appreciably different from those of the previous year, even 
though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant 
changes. (See table A.)

Eight states and the District of Columbia reported unemployment rates of 10.0 
percent or more in 2011. Nevada again posted the highest unemployment rate, 13.5 
percent, followed by California, 11.7 percent. North Dakota registered the lowest 
jobless rate among states for the third year in a row, 3.5 percent, followed by 
Nebraska, 4.4 percent. Overall, 28 states had unemployment rates that were 
significantly lower than the U.S. rate of 8.9 percent, while 10 states and the 
District of Columbia recorded rates significantly above it. (See table B.)

Regional Employment-Population Ratios

In 2011, the West was the only region to register a statistically significant change 
(-0.4 percentage point) in its employment-population ratio--the proportion of the 
civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and over with a job. The 
Midwest continued to report the highest ratio, 60.4 percent, while the South, at 
57.5 percent, maintained the lowest. The South and West posted employment-population 
ratios that were significantly lower than the national figure of 58.4 percent, while 
the Midwest recorded a significantly higher ratio. (See table 2.)

The Mountain was the only division to register a statistically significant change in 
its employment-population ratio in 2011 (-0.7 percentage point). The East South 
Central again recorded the lowest proportion of employed persons, 55.2 percent. The 
next lowest ratios were posted in the Pacific, 56.9 percent; South Atlantic, 57.3
percent; and Middle Atlantic, 57.7 percent. Ratios in all four of these divisions 
were significantly below the national average. The division with the highest 
employment-population ratio was the West North Central, at 64.7 percent, followed by 
New England, at 61.6 percent. These two divisions, along with the Mountain and West 
South Central, at 59.1 percent each, registered employment-population ratios 
measurably above that of the U.S. The ratio registered in the Pacific in 2011 was a series 
low. (All region, division, and state series begin in 1976.)

State Employment-Population Ratios

In 2011, Utah registered the largest employment-population ratio decline among 
states (-1.0 percentage point). The next largest statistically significant declines 
occurred in Arizona (-0.9 percentage point), Nevada and New Mexico (-0.8 point each), 
and New York (-0.5 point). The District of Columbia also reported a measurable 
decline (-1.3 percentage points). Virginia posted the only significant ratio increase 
among states (+0.2 percentage point). The remaining 44 states had employment-population
ratios that were not significantly different from those of a year earlier.

West Virginia again reported the lowest employment-population ratio among the states, 
49.5 percent. West Virginia has had the lowest employment-population ratio each year since
the series began in 1976. Four states in the West North Central division again posted the
highest ratios: North Dakota, 69.3 percent; Nebraska, 68.5 percent; South Dakota, 68.1 percent;
and Minnesota, 67.1 percent. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia recorded
employment-population ratios that were significantly above the U.S. ratio of 58.4 percent,
and 16 states had ratios that were appreciably below it. The remaining 11 states had
ratios that were not measurably different from that of the nation. Five states registered
the lowest employment-population ratios in their series in 2011: California, 56.0 percent;
Hawaii, 58.6 percent; Nevada, 57.2 percent; New Mexico, 54.3 percent; and North Carolina, 56.2
percent. (See table C.)

_____________
The Regional and State Employment and Unemployment news release for January 2012 is 
scheduled to be released on Tuesday, March 13, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT). The 
Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment news release for January 2012 is 
scheduled to be released on Friday, March 23, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).


Table A.  States with statistically significant unemployment rate changes, 
2010-11 annual averages
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                |          Rate           |               
                                |-------------------------| Over-the-year 
             State              |            |            |  rate change  
                                |    2010    |    2011    |               
--------------------------------|------------|------------|---------------
Arizona ........................|    10.5    |     9.5    |     -1.0      
California .....................|    12.4    |    11.7    |      -.7      
Colorado .......................|     8.9    |     8.3    |      -.6      
Delaware .......................|     8.0    |     7.3    |      -.7      
Florida ........................|    11.3    |    10.5    |      -.8      
Illinois .......................|    10.5    |     9.8    |      -.7      
Indiana ........................|    10.1    |     9.0    |     -1.1      
Kansas .........................|     7.2    |     6.7    |      -.5      
Kentucky .......................|    10.2    |     9.5    |      -.7      
Maine ..........................|     8.2    |     7.5    |      -.7      
                                |            |            |               
Maryland .......................|     7.8    |     7.0    |      -.8      
Massachusetts ..................|     8.3    |     7.4    |      -.9      
Michigan .......................|    12.7    |    10.3    |     -2.4      
Minnesota ......................|     7.3    |     6.4    |      -.9      
Missouri .......................|     9.4    |     8.6    |      -.8      
New Hampshire ..................|     6.1    |     5.4    |      -.7      
New York .......................|     8.6    |     8.2    |      -.4      
North Dakota ...................|     3.8    |     3.5    |      -.3      
Ohio ...........................|    10.0    |     8.6    |     -1.4      
Oklahoma .......................|     6.9    |     6.2    |      -.7      
                                |            |            |               
Oregon .........................|    10.7    |     9.5    |     -1.2      
Pennsylvania ...................|     8.5    |     7.9    |      -.6      
South Carolina .................|    11.2    |    10.3    |      -.9      
South Dakota ...................|     5.0    |     4.7    |      -.3      
Utah ...........................|     8.0    |     6.7    |     -1.3      
Vermont ........................|     6.4    |     5.6    |      -.8      
Virginia .......................|     6.9    |     6.2    |      -.7      
Washington .....................|     9.9    |     9.2    |      -.7      
Wisconsin ......................|     8.5    |     7.5    |     -1.0      
Wyoming ........................|     7.0    |     6.0    |     -1.0      
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Table B.  States with unemployment rates significantly different
from that of the U.S., 2011 annual averages
--------------------------------------------------------------
                State                |          Rate          
--------------------------------------------------------------
United States .......................|           8.9          
                                     |                        
Alaska ..............................|           7.6          
Arkansas ............................|           8.0          
California ..........................|          11.7          
Colorado ............................|           8.3          
Delaware ............................|           7.3          
District of Columbia ................|          10.2          
Florida .............................|          10.5          
Georgia .............................|           9.8          
Hawaii ..............................|           6.7          
Illinois ............................|           9.8          
                                     |                        
Iowa ................................|           5.9          
Kansas ..............................|           6.7          
Louisiana ...........................|           7.3          
Maine ...............................|           7.5          
Maryland ............................|           7.0          
Massachusetts .......................|           7.4          
Michigan ............................|          10.3          
Minnesota ...........................|           6.4          
Mississippi .........................|          10.7          
Montana .............................|           6.8          
                                     |                        
Nebraska ............................|           4.4          
Nevada ..............................|          13.5          
New Hampshire .......................|           5.4          
New Mexico ..........................|           7.4          
New York ............................|           8.2          
North Carolina ......................|          10.5          
North Dakota ........................|           3.5          
Oklahoma ............................|           6.2          
Pennsylvania ........................|           7.9          
Rhode Island ........................|          11.3          
                                     |                        
South Carolina ......................|          10.3          
South Dakota ........................|           4.7          
Texas ...............................|           7.9          
Utah ................................|           6.7          
Vermont .............................|           5.6          
Virginia ............................|           6.2          
West Virginia .......................|           8.0          
Wisconsin ...........................|           7.5          
Wyoming .............................|           6.0          
--------------------------------------------------------------


Table C.  States with employment-population ratios significantly
different from that of the U.S., 2011 annual averages
----------------------------------------------------------------
                State                |          Ratio           
----------------------------------------------------------------
United States .......................|           58.4           
                                     |                          
Alabama .............................|           53.4           
Alaska ..............................|           64.2           
Arizona .............................|           55.8           
Arkansas ............................|           55.9           
California ..........................|           56.0           
Colorado ............................|           63.7           
Connecticut .........................|           62.0           
Delaware ............................|           57.3           
District of Columbia ................|           60.1           
Florida .............................|           54.4           
                                     |                          
Illinois ............................|           59.5           
Iowa ................................|           65.9           
Kansas ..............................|           64.8           
Kentucky ............................|           55.5           
Louisiana ...........................|           54.9           
Maine ...............................|           60.3           
Maryland ............................|           62.8           
Massachusetts .......................|           60.7           
Michigan ............................|           53.9           
Minnesota ...........................|           67.1           
                                     |                          
Mississippi .........................|           53.5           
Missouri ............................|           59.9           
Nebraska ............................|           68.5           
Nevada ..............................|           57.2           
New Hampshire .......................|           65.9           
New Jersey ..........................|           59.8           
New Mexico ..........................|           54.3           
New York ............................|           56.5           
North Carolina ......................|           56.2           
North Dakota ........................|           69.3           
                                     |                          
South Carolina ......................|           53.5           
South Dakota ........................|           68.1           
Texas ...............................|           60.4           
Utah ................................|           62.5           
Vermont .............................|           66.4           
Virginia ............................|           64.7           
Washington ..........................|           59.6           
West Virginia .......................|           49.5           
Wisconsin ...........................|           63.5           
Wyoming .............................|           65.4           
----------------------------------------------------------------



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