Unemployment Rate Falls in 22 States

View updated jobs data for each state.
by | March 29, 2013 AT 3:00 PM

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:

NOTE: February figures are preliminary. Job totals and unemployment rates are seasonally-adjusted.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics