Twenty-two states saw their unemployment rates fall last month as the labor market remained relatively stagnant in most states.

The U.S. Labor Department’s updated jobs data published today showed Rhode Island had the largest monthly jobless rate decline, dropping 0.4 percentage points. Vermont reported a 0.3 percentage decrease, followed by six states whose jobless rates fell 0.2 percent in February.

Sixteen states’ unemployment rates didn’t change, while 12 states recorded an increase.

Illinois stood out in the report, with a spike in its jobless rate of 0.5 percent for the month. The state’s rate had remained flat before falling the last few months of 2012.

California, Mississippi and Nevada had the nation’s highest unemployment rate, each at 9.6 percent. California and Nevada, though, are among states seeing the steepest unemployment rate declines over the year.

In terms of job totals -- which are measured using a different survey -- Texas last month added the most jobs of any state (an estimated 80,600), followed by California (41,200), Utah (18,300) and Virginia (16,900).

Payrolls shrunk in only eight states. Nevada and Connecticut each lost more than 5,000 jobs, according to the report. Although Rhode Island’s unemployment rate decreased, the payroll survey estimated that the state lost a couple thousand jobs.

The national unemployment rate dipped slightly last month to 7.7 percent, down 0.6 percent over the year.

The Labor Department will release state employment estimates for March on April 19.
 

State Employment Totals and Unemployment Rates:

 

             
State Monthy Change January Nonfarm Employment February Nonfarm Employment 2/2012 Jobless Rate 2/2013 Jobless Rate Year-Over-Year Change
Alabama 5,200 1,881,800 1,887,000 7.2 7.2 0
Alaska -300 334,600 334,300 7.1 6.5 -0.6
Arizona 3,200 2,488,800 2,492,000 8.4 7.9 -0.5
Arkansas 2,800 1,178,700 1,181,500 7.3 7.2 -0.1
California 41,200 14,529,200 14,570,400 10.8 9.6 -1.2
Colorado 10,800 2,342,100 2,352,900 8.2 7.2 -1
Connecticut -5,700 1,646,100 1,640,400 8.1 8 -0.1
Delaware -700 425,300 424,600 7 7.2 0.2
Florida 7,800 7,471,900 7,479,700 9 7.7 -1.3
Georgia 2,600 3,998,100 4,000,700 9.2 8.6 -0.6
Hawaii -2,500 611,200 608,700 6.2 5.2 -1
Idaho 5,200 630,500 635,700 7.5 6.2 -1.3
Illinois 12,400 5,777,500 5,789,900 8.9 9.5 0.6
Indiana 9,300 2,929,500 2,938,800 8.3 8.7 0.4
Iowa 800 1,520,000 1,520,800 5.4 5 -0.4
Kansas 4,800 1,366,900 1,371,700 5.9 5.5 -0.4
Kentucky 6,800 1,836,700 1,843,500 8.3 7.9 -0.4
Louisiana 9,100 1,934,900 1,944,000 6.9 6 -0.9
Maine 2,300 595,800 598,100 7.3 7.3 0
Maryland 10,500 2,596,700 2,607,200 6.7 6.6 -0.1
Massachusetts 500 3,318,000 3,318,500 6.7 6.5 -0.2
Michigan 13,500 4,053,900 4,067,400 9.1 8.8 -0.3
Minnesota 14,500 2,765,400 2,779,900 5.7 5.5 -0.2
Mississippi 5,500 1,112,800 1,118,300 9.2 9.6 0.4
Missouri 3,900 2,683,600 2,687,500 7.1 6.7 -0.4
Montana 1,100 445,200 446,300 6.1 5.6 -0.5
Nebraska 3,400 962,300 965,700 4 3.8 -0.2
Nevada -5,500 1,163,200 1,157,700 11.8 9.6 -2.2
New Hampshire 1,400 636,600 638,000 5.3 5.8 0.5
New Jersey 12,900 3,930,000 3,942,900 9.2 9.3 0.1
New Mexico 1,600 806,700 808,300 7 6.8 -0.2
New York -900 8,865,800 8,864,900 8.5 8.4 -0.1
North Carolina 3,300 4,046,400 4,049,700 9.5 9.4 -0.1
North Dakota 600 440,000 440,600 3 3.3 0.3
Ohio 16,100 5,181,100 5,197,200 7.5 7 -0.5
Oklahoma 7,800 1,615,200 1,623,000 5.3 5 -0.3
Oregon 6,800 1,649,200 1,656,000 8.9 8.4 -0.5
Pennsylvania 600 5,746,500 5,747,100 7.6 8.1 0.5
Rhode Island -2,600 468,100 465,500 10.7 9.4 -1.3
South Carolina 4,500 1,876,000 1,880,500 9.4 8.6 -0.8
South Dakota 1,400 417,800 419,200 4.4 4.4 0
Tennessee 11,400 2,747,200 2,758,600 8 7.8 -0.2
Texas 80,600 11,038,500 11,119,100 7.1 6.4 -0.7
Utah 18,300 1,264,600 1,282,900 5.9 5.2 -0.7
Vermont 1,300 305,400 306,700 4.9 4.4 -0.5
Virginia 16,900 3,745,000 3,761,900 5.9 5.6 -0.3
Washington 4,000 2,909,500 2,913,500 8.4 7.5 -0.9
West Virginia 2,800 765,800 768,600 7 7.3 0.3
Wisconsin 12,100 2,797,800 2,809,900 6.9 7.2 0.3
Wyoming -500 289,900 289,400 5.6 4.9 -0.7

 

NOTE: February figures are preliminary. Job totals and unemployment rates are seasonally-adjusted.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics