Press Releases

News from EPI State employment trends stuck in neutral (or reverse)

For Immediate Release: Friday, October 21, 2011
Phoebe Silag or Karen Conner, 202-775-8810


State employment trends stuck in neutral (or reverse)

State employment data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows ample evidence that the weak economic recovery continues to scar working families throughout the nation.  (Click here to see interactive maps.)

In September, 19 states and the District of Columbia continued to have unemployment rates of 9 percent or higher, and unemployment surpassed 10 percent in 9 states and the District of Columbia. Even more troubling is the trend over the past three months.  Since June 2011, 28 states and the District of Columbia have seen their unemployment rates rise, and 22 states have lost jobs.  The states that have lost the most jobs over this period are Georgia, Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

When accounting for population growth since the beginning of the recession, every state except North Dakota has a jobs deficit (jobs needed to get back to the pre-recession unemployment rate).  The states with the largest jobs deficits are California (1,780,300), Florida (972,200), Texas (654,100), Georgia (554,300) and North Carolina (515,000).

States continue to see the harmful effects of meeting revenue shortfalls by cutting state budgets, which hurts private sector employment even more dramatically than public sector employment.  Employment trends will improve in every state if the federal government passes a substantial jobs bill as soon as possible.  Unless such a bill passes soon, too many states will continue to see flat or even negative employment growth.