Economic Indicators | Jobs and Unemployment

State policymakers should avoid adding to austerity imposed by sequestration

Today’s release of state employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics continues to show broad improvement in employment throughout all regions of the country during the month of February.

Between November 2012 and February 2013, six states experienced decline in overall employment. All regions of the country saw modest employment growth between October and January, with the Northeast and West each experiencing 0.5 percent growth, and the Midwest and South with 0.6 percent growth.  Five states—Utah, Texas, Minnesota, Idaho and Delaware – each had employment growth of 1.0 percent or more during this time period.

MORE: Graphs and data from the latest employment and unemployment numbers on EPI’s State of Working America

For the second consecutive month, there were no states experiencing double-digit unemployment in February, though there continued to be seven states— California, Mississippi, Nevada, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island and New Jersey—with unemployment rates of 9.0 percent or more.  The number of states in which the unemployment rate is now 5.0 percent or lower has grown to seven, led by North Dakota’s 3.3 percent unemployment rate and Nebraska’s 3.8 percent rate.

As the impact of federal sequestration takes hold, state policymakers will face challenges keeping their states on a path of positive economic growth.  Adding another layer of austerity to that imposed at the federal level would further undermine state and regional economic recovery.

See related work on Jobs and Unemployment

See more work by Doug Hall