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(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) Overall, 42 states added jobs in February from January, and just eight lost jobs. The biggest monthly job gains came in Texas (up nearly 81,000) and California (up more than 41,000).
Utah, 21 other states lead way on employment
Labor » Jobless rates drop as economy slowly improves.
First Published Apr 02 2013 06:47 pm • Last Updated Apr 02 2013 08:49 pm

Utah was among 22 states that saw unemployment rates fall in February from January, an improving performance and a sign that hiring gains are benefiting many parts of the country.

Jobless rates rose in 12 states and were unchanged in 16, the Labor Department said.

At a glance

State unemployment rates for February

Rates are compared with the previous month and a year earlier:

(Figures in percentages) State February 2013  January 2013  February 2012

Alabama                     7.2                    6.9                      7.2

Alaska                     6.5                    6.7                      7.1

Arizona                     7.9                    8.0                      8.4

Arkansas                     7.2                    7.2                      7.3

California                     9.6                    9.8                    10.8

Colorado                     7.2                    7.3                      8.2

Connecticut                     8.0                    8.1                      8.1

Delaware                     7.2                    7.1                      7.0

Florida                     7.7                    7.9                      9.0

Georgia                     8.6                    8.7                      9.2

Hawaii                     5.2                    5.2                      6.2

Idaho                     6.2                    6.3                      7.5

Illinois                     9.5                    9.0                      8.9

Indiana                     8.7                    8.6                      8.3

Iowa                     5.0                    5.0                      5.4

Kansas                     5.5                    5.5                      5.9

Kentucky                     7.9                    7.9                      8.3

Louisiana                     6.0                    5.9                      6.9

Maine                     7.3                    7.3                      7.3

Maryland                     6.6                    6.7                      6.7

Massachusetts                     6.5                    6.7                      6.7

Michigan                     8.8                    8.9                      9.1

Minnesota                     5.5                    5.5                      5.7

Mississippi                     9.6                    9.3                      9.2

Missouri                     6.7                    6.6                      7.1

Montana                     5.6                    5.7                      6.1

Nebraska                     3.8                    3.8                      4.0

Nevada                     9.6                    9.7                    11.8

New Hampshire                     5.8                    5.8                      5.3

New Jersey                     9.3                    9.5                      9.2

New Mexico                     6.8                    6.6                      7.0

New York                     8.4                    8.4                      8.5

North Carolina                     9.4                    9.5                      9.5

North Dakota                     3.3                    3.3                      3.0

Ohio                     7.0                    7.0                      7.5

Oklahoma                     5.0                    5.1                      5.3

Oregon                     8.4                    8.4                      8.9

Pennsylvania                     8.1                    8.2                      7.6

Rhode Island                     9.4                    9.8                    10.7

South Carolina                     8.6                    8.7                      9.4

South Dakota                     4.4                    4.3                      4.4

Tennessee                     7.8                    7.7                      8.0

Texas                     6.4                    6.3                      7.1

Utah                     5.2                    5.4                      5.9

Vermont                     4.4                    4.7                      4.9

Virginia                     5.6                    5.6                      5.9

Washington                     7.5                    7.5                      8.4

Washington D.C.                    8.6                    8.6                      9.3

West Virginia                     7.3                    7.4                      7.0

Wisconsin                     7.2                    7.0                      6.9

Wyoming                     4.9                    4.9                      5.6

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In Utah, officials reported recently that unemployment dropped to 5.2 percent from 5.4 percent in January. Utah was one of 23 states with an unemployment rate significantly lower than the U.S. rate of 7.7 percent.

Nationally, the unemployment rate slid to a four-year low in February, down from 7.9 percent in January. Since November, employers across the country have added an average of 200,000 jobs a month, nearly double the average from last spring.

In Utah, 18,900 jobs were added between January and February. Year-over-year, 50,900 jobs were added, the Labor Department said.

Even states hit hardest during the recession are showing improvement.

In Nevada, unemployment dropped to 9.6 percent last month, down from 11.8 percent a year ago. That’s the biggest year-over-year decrease among states.

One reason for the big drop is that people have stopped applying for jobs. Nevada’s work force — those working or looking for work — fell nearly 1 percent in the year through February. Only those looking for work are counted as unemployed. But hiring accelerated, too. Jobs in Nevada rose 2 percent over the past year.

Unemployment in California fell to 9.6 percent last month, down from 10.8 percent in February 2012.

California and Nevada are still tied with Mississippi for the nation’s highest unemployment rate.


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Florida’s job market has also rebounded. The Sunshine State’s unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in February, down from 9 percent a year earlier.

North Dakota once again held the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, at 3.3 percent. The state is benefiting from a boom in oil and natural gas production. Nebraska had the second-lowest rate, at 3.8 percent.

Overall, 42 states added jobs in February from January, and just eight lost jobs. The biggest monthly job gains came in Texas (up nearly 81,000) and California (up more than 41,000).

In the 12 months up to February, Texas gained nearly 294,000 jobs, and California 128,000. On a percentage basis, North Dakota reported the fastest job growth over the past year, rising 5 percent.



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