Best Job States – In the best showing since April, unemployment rates fell in 36 states in October and rose in only 5, a sign that many parts of the country are experiencing modest job gains, the Labor Department said Tuesday.
Nationally, the unemployment rate ticked down to 9 percent in October, from 9.1 percent the previous month. Employers added a modest 80,000 net jobs last month and the previous two months were revised to show much stronger gains. Still, at least 125,000 jobs a month are needed to keep up with population growth, and at least double that amount to rapidly reduce the unemployment rate.
Nevada had the nation’s highest unemployment rate for the 17th straight month. It was unchanged at 13.4 percent. California had the second-highest rate at 11.7 percent. Mississippi and Michigan had the next highest rates, both at 10.6 percent.
North Dakota reported the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, at 3.5 percent. It was followed by Nebraska, at 4.2 percent.
Unemployment rates in Alabama, Michigan and Minnesota all dropped by a half of a percentage point, the biggest declines among states.
Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana and Oklahoma all reported small increases in their unemployment rates. Meantime, employers added jobs in 39 states. Payrolls declined in 11 states.
Illinois added 30,000 jobs, the most among states. It was followed by California, which added 25,700. Wisconsin reported the biggest job loss, a drop of 9,700, followed by New York, which shed 8,300.
There have been some signs in recent weeks that the economy and hiring may pick up soon. The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell to a seven-month low last week. Retail sales also grew at a healthy pace in October.