Unemployment rates fall in 28 US states last month, employers add jobs in 34 states

WASHINGTON – Unemployment fell in 28 U.S. states last month, and employers added jobs in 34 states. The gains suggest recent improvements in the job market have occurred in most regions of the country.

The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates rose in 11 states and were flat in 11. Employers cut jobs in 15 states.

The biggest job gains occurred in Florida, California and North Carolina. Kentucky, Washington state, and New Jersey lost the most jobs. Job growth was unchanged in Pennsylvania.

Hiring has picked up nationwide, according to the government’s October jobs report released earlier this month. That report showed employers added 204,000 positions last month, up from 163,000 in September.

The unemployment rate nationally ticked up to 7.3 per cent from 7.2 per cent, in part because of the 16-day partial government shutdown. The shutdown caused temporary layoffs among government workers and some contractors.

But outside that increase, most employers appeared to have shrugged off the shutdown.

Florida gained 44,600 jobs. The biggest gains were in both better-paying and lower-paying fields. Most of the gains were in construction; hotels, restaurants and entertainment; and in the professional services category, which includes accountants, engineers, and temporary workers.

California added 39,800 positions, also in a mix of fields. The biggest gains were in government, education and health, and in retail, transportation and utilities.

Nevada continued to have the highest unemployment rate in the nation, at 9.3 per cent. That is down from 9.4 per cent in September. The states with the next highest rates were Rhode Island, at 9.2 per cent; Michigan, 9 per cent; Illinois, 8.9 per cent; and California, 8.7 per cent.

North Dakota had the lowest rate, at 2.7 per cent, down from 2.8 per cent a month earlier. South Dakota reported the second-lowest rate, at 3.7 per cent, followed by Nebraska, with 3.9 per cent.