Unemployment rates ticked up in 44 states in July as slow economic growth failed to keep pace with a persistent shortage of jobs.
Labor Department data released Friday shows 18 of these states experienced jobless rate hikes considered to be statistically significant. Only Idaho and Rhode Island recorded slight declines for the month.
Nonfarm payroll employment, which is measured with a separate survey than the unemployment rate, increased in 31 states and the District of Columbia.
California added another 25,200 jobs after payrolls grew by 45,000 from May to June. These gains were not enough, though, to lower the state’s monthly jobless rate.
Michigan (+21,800) and Virginia (+21,300) recorded the next-highest job gains in July.
New Jersey lost an estimated 12,000 jobs, the most of any state for the month, pushing the state’s jobless rate up to 9.8 percent -- the highest on record since 1977. Democrats used the figures as an opportunity to fault Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
"What I want to see is this administration admit it is failing in terms of getting people back to work,” said State Senate President Steve Sweeney. “The people of this state deserve nothing less than that.”
Nevada’s unemployment rate increased from 11.6 to 12 percent in July, still the highest rate of any state. The Las Vegas metro area is home the highest rate within the state -- 12.9 percent, according to Labor Department data. But despite the overall increase, the state’s jobless rate has still plunged 1.8 percent year-over-year.
Preliminary numbers estimate that the nation added 163,000 total jobs in July -- the most since February. But public-sector payrolls continued to shrink, shedding a combined 9,000 jobs for the month.
The national unemployment rate remained nearly unchanged for the month, with the Labor Department reporting a seasonally adjusted rate of 8.3 percent. White House economic adviser Alan Krueger wrote that more precise estimates indicate the rate rose from 8.217 percent in June to 8.254 percent in July.
State Employment Totals and Unemployment Rates for July:
|State||Monthly Employment Change||Year-Over-Year Employment Change||Year-Over-Year Change (%)||July Unemployment Rate||Rate Change from 7-2011|
|District of Columbia||3,400||10,200||1.40||8.9||-1.6|
NOTE: July figures are preliminary. Job totals and unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics