42 States Lose Jobs in August, Up from 29 in July
September 18, 2009 - 12:34 PMForty-two states lost jobs last month, up from 29 in July, with the biggest net payroll cuts coming in Texas, Michigan, Georgia and Ohio.
The Labor Department also reported Friday that 27 states saw their unemployment rates increase in August, and 14 states and Washington D.C., reported unemployment rates of 10 percent or above.
The report shows jobs remain scarce even as most analysts believe the economy is pulling out of the worst recession since the 1930s. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said earlier this week that the recovery isn't likely to be rapid enough to reduce unemployment for some time.
The jobless rate nationwide is expected to peak above 10 percent next year, from its current 9.7 percent.
"You are seeing the pace of job losses slow a little bit," said Mike Lynch, a regional economist at IHS Global Insight. But states "are not out of the woods yet."
The United States lost 216,000 jobs in August, the department said earlier this month, down from 276,000 in July. Employers have eliminated 6.9 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007.
Texas lost 62,200 jobs as its unemployment rate rose to 8 percent in August for the first time in 22 years. The state's leisure, construction and manufacturing industries were hardest hit, losing 35,500 jobs.
Michigan saw 42,900 jobs disappear, including 15,000 in manufacturing, as the state continued to suffer along with its struggling auto industry.
Michigan's unemployment rate rose to 15.2 percent, the highest in the nation. When its jobless rate topped 15 percent in June it was the first time any state surpassed that mark since 1984.
Nevada has the second-highest rate at 13.2 percent, followed by Rhode Island at 12.8 percent and California and Oregon at 12.2 percent each.
The jobless rates in California, Nevada and Rhode Island were the highest on records dating to 1976. California and Nevada have been slammed by the housing bust, while Rhode Island has lost thousands of manufacturing and government jobs in the past year.
Georgia and Ohio reported the third and fourth-highest job losses, respectively, but their unemployment rates both fell as many of the unemployed dropped out of the work force.
The four states with the largest drops in their unemployment rates - Indiana, Colorado, Kansas and Virginia - experienced similar trends: thousands of jobless workers gave up on their searches and left the work force. None of those states actually added any jobs.
"That's not all that surprising" to see such trends in Midwestern states "given how bad manufacturing has been hit," Lynch said.
North Dakota reported the lowest unemployment rate in August, at 4.3 percent, followed by South Dakota with 4.9 percent and Nebraska at 5 percent.
North Dakota has benefited from a healthy oil sector, and all three states are helped by relatively strong agriculture economies.
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