Alabama, Michigan Report Largest Unemployment Rate Declines

New Labor Department figures show unemployment rates declined in 37 states last month.
by | January 24, 2012 AT 3:00 PM

Unemployment rates fell in 37 states in December, mirroring the gradual decline in the nation's jobless rate.

The new figures, released Tuesday by the Labor Department, showed slight employment gains in several states.

The largest drop in the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate occurred in Alabama, falling from 8.7 percent in November to 8.1 percent last month. The state was followed by Michigan, where the rate decreased 0.5 percent to 9.3 percent in December.

Monthly unemployment rate declines for 18 states were considered statistically significant. Only three states recorded monthly increases.

When comparing regional numbers, unemployment rates are highest in the western U.S., at 9.7 percent. Rates are lowest, 7.9 percent, in the Midwest and Northeast, according to the Labor Department.

Nevada remains home to the nation's highest unemployment rate, recorded at 12.6 percent for December. But the state's economy is recovering. The jobless rate is down 2.3 percent from December 2010 -- the largest year-over-year decline.

View updated figures by selecting a state in the dropdown menu below.

Please note that numbers released by the Labor Department, specified in the story, refer to non-farm employees. BLS statistics in the chart refer to all workers.