Economic Indicators | Jobs and Unemployment

Poverty Rates Remain High, and Incomes Stagnant, as State Economies Inch Along

The August 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics state employment data released this morning continue to reflect national patterns showing a long road to full recovery. These data also show the ongoing contribution of unemployment and weak job growth to poverty rates that remain elevated from pre-recession levels in every state but North Dakota, seen in data released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

From May 2013 to August 2013, 42 states saw gains in employment, with California (+69,400), Florida (+31,100), and Wisconsin (+28,600) experiencing the largest net increases in jobs. North Dakota recorded the largest percentage gain between May and August (1.3 percent), followed by Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, each at +1.0 percent. During the same period, eight states and the District of Columbia lost jobs.

From May 2013 to August 2013, unemployment declined in 14 states, rose in 34 states and the District of Columbia, and remained unchanged in three states.

Unemployment rose modestly (a 0.2 percent increase) in the Northeast, Midwest, and West between May and August (led by New England’s 0.4 percent increase), and remained unchanged in the South.

In August, there were four states—Nevada, Illinois, Rhode Island, and Michigan—with unemployment rates of at least 9.0 percent, and another 13 states and the District of Columbia with unemployment rates above 8.0 percent. In contrast, only eight states had unemployment rates below the pre-recession national average of 5.0 percent.

Yesterday’s data highlighting the prevalence of poverty rates well above pre-recession levels throughout the nation, combined with last night’s action by the House of Representatives to decimate the SNAP program highlights the ongoing need to get the economy back on track by creating more jobs.  Families in every state continue to struggle while policymakers do additional harm to the economy.

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