California, Nevada Reach Record Unemployment Levels

Timothy R. Homan | Bloomberg.com | 18 september 2009

Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) — Unemployment rose in 27 U.S. states in August, with California and Nevada reaching record levels of joblessness.

Rhode Island rounded out the list of states with the highest level of unemployment since data began in 1976, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. California’s unemployment rate reached 12.2 percent and Nevada’s climbed to 13.2 percent.

The job market is showing signs of stabilizing as reports indicate economic growth is resuming this quarter. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News this month said the unemployment rate nationally will reach 10 percent this year, a reminder that consumers are unlikely to lead the recovery.

“There’s still a fair amount of weakness in some of the larger states,” said Steven Cochrane, director of regional economics at Moody’s Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “State finances are probably going to be among the last of all the various components of the broad economy to turn around.”

The number of states with at least 10 percent unemployment fell to 14 from 15 as Indiana’s rate dropped below that threshold. The jobless rate nationally reached a 26-year high of 9.7 percent in August, the Labor Department reported earlier this month.

10 Percent

Unemployment in the District of Columbia also exceeded 10 percent, for a fourth consecutive month, rising to 11.1 percent from 10.6 percent.

“I’m caught up in the horrible transition phase between entry-level and mid-level professional,” said Jason Chang, 31, who lives in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington.

Chang said he has been looking for government-related or nonprofit jobs since January after spending the last two years doing short-term contract work. The number of job interviews started picking up in late July, he said.

Michigan, the heart of the U.S. auto industry, continued to surpass all states, with an unemployment rate of 15.2 percent in August, up from 15 percent. Nevada was second.

Nonetheless, some of the auto workers laid off in the past year are starting to return to work. General Motors Co. last month called back 1,350 union workers, its biggest one-time increase in jobs since 2006, as it boosted second-half production, in part because of the government’s auto-rebate program known as “cash for clunkers.”

New York City

New York City’s seasonably adjusted unemployment rate jumped to 10.3 percent in August, the highest since May 1993, the state’s Labor Department reported yesterday. The rate was 9.5 percent in July and 5.9 percent in August 2008.

The state’s jobless level increased to 9 percent, the highest since April 1983, from 8.6 percent in July, according to a release from the department.

New Jersey’s rate increased to 9.7 percent, the highest level since 1977, from 9.3 percent, the U.S. Labor Department report showed. Joblessness in Connecticut climbed to 8.1 percent from 7.8 percent.

Payrolls fell last month in 42 states and the District of Columbia, today’s report showed. Texas showed the biggest drop with a 62,200 decrease. Michigan followed with a 42,900 drop and Georgia with a 35,000 decrease.

Over the last year, only the District of Columbia and North Dakota showed gains in employment. Payrolls in Michigan fell 7.9 percent since August 2008, the biggest percentage drop of any state.

Payrolls in the world’s largest economy fell by 216,000 last month, the smallest decline in a year and less than economists projected, the Labor Department reported previously.

The U.S. economy has lost 6.9 million jobs since the recession started in December 2007, the most of any downturn since the Great Depression.

To contact the reporter on this story: Timothy R. Homan in Washington at thoman1@bloomberg.net
Last Updated: September 18, 2009 11:21 EDT

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About rico49

Writer, progresive activist, open source software developer. Working to meet the needs of under- and un-employed people globally and in the United States.
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