Most states continued to post steady employment gains in the Labor Department’s new jobs report issued Friday, but some lag behind the rest of the nation.

In all, 34 states reported unemployment rate declines for October while 15 recorded monthly payroll employment increases large enough to be considered statistically significant. The jobs outlook didn’t change much in the other states.

Looking back further, economic indicators show the recovery is progressing much faster in some states than others. North Dakota’s oil boom propelled payrolls up 5 percent over the year -- the largest increase nationally. Other states enjoying strong job growth in terms of total employment include Texas and Utah, up 3.7 percent and 3.8 percent from last October, respectively.

Some states that consistently posted among the highest jobless rates for the first period of the recovery have experienced steep declines. Nevada’s rate fell from 9.4 percent to 7.1 percent over the past 12 months. Illinois’ unemployment rate dropped from 9.1 percent last October to 6.6 percent last month, the largest decline of any state. Both states' economic indicators still lag behind the nation, though.

Georgia’s jobless rate hasn’t budged at 7.7 percent -- the nation’s highest rate. The state’s payroll employment growth, though, has performed relatively strong compared to other states. 

“We had significant over-the-year growth in almost every sector, which shows the overall strength in our job recovery. I’m especially encouraged that the number of construction jobs grew by nearly five percent to give us the most jobs in that industry in five years,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler in a news release.

Alaska’s economy has likely struggled more than any other state in recent months. It’s the only state to post a year-over-year decline in total employment and its unemployment rate remains one of the highest nationally at 6.8 percent.

New Jersey’s job growth -- measured by percentage change in jobs over the past 12 months – is dead last, following Alaska. Since last October, the state has added an average of less than 800 jobs per month. Much of its economic development strategy in recent years relied heavily on the use of tax incentives to lure and retain large employers.

Mississippi’s recovery has similarly trailed far behind the rest of the nation in recent months. Labor Department estimates indicate the state has added an average of less than 300 jobs per month since last October. The state's jobless rate also hasn’t changed much and is now second highest to only Georgia.

State Job Growth

The following map shows each state's percentage change in total nonfarm employment over the past 12 months:

         
State Year-Over-Year Jobs Change Average Monthly Change Year-Over-Year % Change October 2014 Nonfarm Employment
Alaska -700 -58 -0.2 336,500
New Jersey 9,200 767 0.2 3,951,700
Mississippi 3,500 292 0.3 1,123,700
Virginia 12,400 1,033 0.3 3,775,600
Maryland 13,700 1,142 0.5 2,611,900
Michigan 26,300 2,192 0.6 4,150,200
Illinois 39,400 3,283 0.7 5,856,300
Ohio 37,600 3,133 0.7 5,307,300
Vermont 2,200 183 0.7 308,100
Rhode Island 3,600 300 0.8 476,500
New Hampshire 4,900 408 0.8 647,300
Pennsylvania 48,200 4,017 0.8 5,802,300
Nebraska 8,300 692 0.8 991,800
Maine 5,800 483 1.0 609,900
Wisconsin 28,200 2,350 1.0 2,868,000
Kansas 13,800 1,150 1.0 1,396,500
Iowa 15,400 1,283 1.0 1,556,900
District of Columbia 7,900 658 1.1 756,300
Hawaii 6,600 550 1.1 626,700
New York 100,800 8,400 1.1 9,043,500
Arkansas 14,200 1,183 1.2 1,195,300
Louisiana 24,500 2,042 1.2 1,988,900
New Mexico 10,500 875 1.3 821,300
Connecticut 23,000 1,917 1.4 1,681,800
Idaho 9,000 750 1.4 649,400
South Dakota 6,000 500 1.4 422,700
Montana 6,800 567 1.5 455,100
Massachusetts 52,600 4,383 1.6 3,424,600
West Virginia 12,700 1,058 1.7 776,600
Indiana 49,600 4,133 1.7 3,003,700
Alabama 33,500 2,792 1.8 1,942,400
Minnesota 49,400 4,117 1.8 2,847,000
Missouri 48,400 4,033 1.8 2,788,800
South Carolina 37,200 3,100 1.9 1,949,600
Kentucky 37,900 3,158 2.1 1,873,200
North Carolina 84,700 7,058 2.1 4,183,900
California 319,500 26,625 2.1 15,567,600
Wyoming 6,200 517 2.1 298,100
Tennessee 59,800 4,983 2.2 2,825,500
Oklahoma 36,600 3,050 2.2 1,673,700
Georgia 95,400 7,950 2.4 4,149,900
Nevada 28,600 2,383 2.4 1,214,000
Washington 74,700 6,225 2.5 3,076,300
Colorado 60,800 5,067 2.5 2,461,700
Arizona 64,400 5,367 2.5 2,590,700
Florida 206,900 17,242 2.7 7,857,300
Oregon 47,900 3,992 2.8 1,733,600
Delaware 12,300 1,025 2.9 443,700
Texas 421,900 35,158 3.7 11,708,400
Utah 48,800 4,067 3.8 1,349,500
North Dakota 22,500 1,875 5.0 471,700

SOURCES: Bureau of Labor Statistics, seasonally-adjusted data. October estimates are preliminary.