Press Releases | Jobs and Unemployment

News from EPI Seven states still struggle with double-digit unemployment

For Immediate Release: Friday, May 20, 2011
Contact: Phoebe Silag or Karen Conner, 202-775-8810

Seven states still struggle with double-digit unemployment

Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released state level jobs and unemployment data that show that despite improvements in many states, American workers throughout the country still face a long climb to economic stability.   In April, 19 states and the District of Columbia have unemployment rates of 9.0% or higher, and seven states have rates of 10.0% or more.  (Click here to see interactive map.)

A total of 24 states have a total job loss of 5.0% or more since the beginning of the Great Recession, including two states – Nevada and Arizona, with job losses exceeding 10% of December 2007 employment levels (13.4% and 10.6% respectively).  Four states – Kansas, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota – have lost jobs since April 2010, while a more recent comparison – the past three months – shows seven states with fewer jobs.  

One positive development is that three states and the District of Columbia now have employment levels greater than at the beginning of the recession.  

These state-level jobs and unemployment numbers highlight the fact that too few states have recovered from the Great Recession.  As elected officials at both the state and federal level make policy choices to deal with budget shortfalls, they should avoid decisions that threaten to throw even this very tentative economic recovery into reverse.  Putting American workers back to work, in every state of the nation, needs to be the primary goal for state and federal lawmakers. 

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