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Robert Trigaux

Yes, Florida's jobless rate rose to 12 percent but we're not alone out there



jobfairkathleenflynn.jpgWake up and good morning. As newsworthy as it is to report Florida's latest unemployment rate -- it rose last month to 12 percent (a 7-month high) from 11.9 percent in October (read more here) -- it is no less revealing to compare how Florida's unemployment status is doing versus other states. (Job fair photo: Kathleen Flynn, St. Petersburg Times.)

That's where the Bureau of Labor Statistics  and the Economic Policy Institute help with its state-by-state update. Looking at Florida compared with the rest of the country offers some perspective of our own situation in the Sunshine State. Here are 5 insights from the BLS data and EPI analysis just released.:

1 Highest jobless rates: Nevada continued to register the highest unemployment rate for November among the states, 14.3 percent in November. The states with the next highest rates were California and Michigan, 12.4 percent each, and Florida at 12.0 percent. North Dakota reported the lowest jobless rate, 3.8 percent, followed by South Dakota and Nebraska, 4.5 and 4.6 percent, respectively.

2 Jobless rate increases: Florida is one of 21 states, plus the District of Columbia. to record unemployment rate increases; 15 states registered rate decreases, and 14 states had no rate change.

3 Job loss leaders: Florida, which used to dominate state rankings for job losses, no longer among those "leaders." Between October and November, the largest over-the-month "statistically significant" job losses occurred in North Carolina (-12,500) and Massachusetts (-8,600). The only over-the-month statistically significant job gains occurred in Oregon (+6,300) and Alaska (+5,000).

4 Who gained (in sheer numbers) jobs? For the entire year (Nov. 2009-Nov. 2010), 14 states and the District of Columbia reported statistically significant employment increases, while no state experienced a statistically significant decline in employment. The largest statistically significant over-the-year employment increases were posted in Texas (+192,100), Pennsylvania (+57,000), Virginia (+48,500), and Minnesota (+44,700).

5 Where have jobless rates grown most in this recession? Since the recession began in December 2007, Nevada's seen the largest increase in the jobless rate, a hike of 9.1 percentage points from 5.2 percent to 14.3 percent. Florida is No. 2 among the states with a 7.3 percentage point increase from 4.7 percent to the current 12 percent. (Compare state data here.)

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Monday, December 20, 2010 6:44am]


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