Unemployment rates fall or remain unchanged in all 50 US states as hiring picks up nationwide

WASHINGTON – Unemployment rates fell or were unchanged in all 50 U.S. states in November, evidence that hiring is improving across the country.

The Labor Department said Friday that employers added jobs in 43 states and cut jobs in just seven. California, Texas and Indiana reported the largest job gains.

The lower state unemployment rates are due in part to robust hiring nationwide over the past four months. U.S. employers added an average of 204,000 jobs from August through November, a strong pickup from earlier this year.

The national unemployment rate fell to 7 per cent last month, a five-year low.

Still, the decline in state unemployment rates has occurred partly because many people have stopped looking for work. When people who are out of work stop looking for jobs, they’re no longer counted as unemployed. The unemployment rate can fall as a result.

For example, North Carolina’s unemployment rate fell to 7.4 per cent in November from 8 per cent in October. But some of that gain occurred because many of those out of work stopped seeking jobs. Employers in North Carolina actually cut 6,500 positions last month.

Nevada and Rhode Island reported the highest unemployment rates: 9 per cent each. Nevada’s fell from 9.3 per cent in October as employers added 9,500 jobs. Rhode Island’s declined from 9.2 per cent as the state gained 1,400 jobs.

Michigan and Illinois reported the next-highest rates, at 8.8 per cent and 8.7 per cent, respectively.

North Dakota remained the state with the lowest unemployment rate, at 2.6 per cent. South Dakota’s rate of 3.6 per cent was the second-lowest, followed by Nebraska at 3.7 per cent.