20 States Registered Unemployment Rate Increases in December

December Unemployment - IllustrationThe December state and regional unemployment numbers were released by the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) earlier today.

According to the BLS, twenty states registered unemployment rate increases in December, 15 states (and the District of Columbia) reported decreases, while the remaining 15 states reported zero change.

31 states (plus the District of Columbia) reported year-over-year unemployment rate decreases, 16 states reported YoY increases, while the remaining three states reported no change.


Nevada's unemployment woes continued in December, as their state unemployment rate ticked higher to 14.5%. This is the highest that their unemployment rate has been since the BLS started releasing state unemployment data in 1976. In the early '80s, when the country was suffering greatly due to stagflation (weak economic activity coupled with high inflation), Nevada's unemployment rate topped out at 12.2% (December, 1982).

Let's look at how Nevada's unemployment rate has skyrocketed over the past 5 years:

January 2007 - 4.4%
January 2008 - 5.3%
January 2009 - 9.6%
January 2010 - 13.0%
December 2011 - 14.5%

The other states with the highest unemployment rates in December of 2010 were:

California - 12.5%
Florida - 12.0%
Michigan - 11.7%

California's unemployment rate stabilized in 2010, as it managed to maintain a tight range between 12.3% and 12.6%. Like Nevada, California's unemployment rate ticked higher in December.

Florida closed 2010 at the same rate that it opened the year at - 12.0%. A worrying statistic for Floridians is the fact that their state unemployment rate trended higher from June '10 (11.4%) through to December '10 (12.0%).

While Michigan's rate is obviously still very high (11.7%), the state saw its unemployment rate fall dramatically in 2010. Michigan opened the year with an unemployment rate of 14.3% (the highest in the nation at the time, by far), and managed to close the year at 11.7%. The fact that Michigan managed to close 2010 with the nation's fourth highest unemployment rate is quite the accomplishment when you consider that they had a far higher rate than states such as Nevada and California when the year started.


On the opposite side of the table, the states with the lowest unemployment rates in December were:

North Dakota with a rate of 3.8%
Nebraska with a rate of 4.4%
South Dakota with a rate of 4.6%
New Hampshire with a rate of 5.5%
Vermont with a rate of 5.8%


I have taken all 25 years of state unemployment data from the BLS, put it into a database, organized it and made an easy-to-use application if you were wanting to search for an individual month/year for a certain state. The link is below:

Source: Historical State Unemployment Rates Since 1976

Source: BLS.gov

Filed under: General Knowledge

Related Articles