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Slow Economic Recovery Leaves 11 States Behind

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The slow but positive economic job growth seen in recent months is more mixed on the local than national level with 11 states showing unemployment is actually increasing, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) jobs report Friday.

Unemployment in a total of 27 states has decreased in November from the previous month, while increasing in 11 states. In 12 states and the District of Columbia there were no significant changes. Over the long term, however, unemployment has shown a much more dramatic change. It has decreased in a total of 45 states in the past year.

“North Dakota had the lowest jobless rate in November, 2.7 percent, followed by Nebraska, 2.9 percent,” the report noted. “New Mexico had the highest rate, 6.8 percent.”

Recent monthly reports have shown relatively positive, but slow employment growth. A national level BLS analysis from Dec. 4, showed 211,000 new jobs in November. At the same time, unemployment has remained almost unchanged at five percent since October. When comparing states to the national average as opposed to rates the month prior, mixed results were also found. Some states are doing better than the nation as a whole, while others are doing worse.

“In total, 19 states had unemployment rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 5.0 percent,” the report continued. “11 states and the District of Columbia had measurably higher rates, and 20 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.”

Though positive, the recent economic reports have hinted that the long-term unemployed are still struggling. The civilian labor force participation rate, which tracks those employed or seeking employment, has changed little in each individual state. The lack of change also holds true on the national level. The rise in jobs is likely caused by those new to the workforce or who were not previously suffering from long-term unemployment.

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