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Highs and lows of the U.S. employment cycle state by state

The national unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent last month, the lowest level since the pre-pandemic level of 3.5 percent.

Inflation, supply shortages and labor turnover continued as headwinds to US factories' momentum. — © AFP/File DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS
Inflation, supply shortages and labor turnover continued as headwinds to US factories' momentum. — © AFP/File DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS

In relation to the U.S. economy, new unemployment claims have increased slightly during the past month. However, they remain 96 percent below the peak during the COVID-19 pandemic. The most regularly referenced economic indicator for the state of employment in the United States is the unemployment rate, which means a regular review of the data provides a robust economic indicator.

Yet individual states are witnessing varying trends. The variable intra-U.S. effect is borne out in a survey conducted by the website WalletHub. The company has issued rankings for the “States Whose Unemployment Claims Are Increasing the Most”.

With the overall picture, WalletHub Analyst, Jill Gonzalez says: “The national unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent last month, the lowest level since the pre-pandemic level of 3.5 percent. This means that decreasing Covid-19 cases brought on a high number of new jobs and new workers, which are both signs that the pandemic’s hold on the economy may also be decreasing.”

She also adds: “U.S. employers added over 670,000 jobs in February, continuing the streak of strong job growth we’ve been seeing for months. Job growth, in combination with less mask and vaccine mandates nationwide, should spur even more economic recovery.”

The encouraging economic analysis is that most states have recorded unemployment claims that were lower than before the pandemic. The exceptions are New Jersey, Texas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Wyoming, Rhode Island, California, Alaska, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Indiana, Michigan, Utah, Ohio, Kansas, New York, Kentucky, and D.C.

There are also two other oddities: Kansas and D.C. have recorded unemployment claims last week that were worse than the same week last year.

The states that have experienced the greatest recoveries are:

1. Pennsylvania

2. Maryland

3. Arkansas

4. Alabama

5. West Virginia

6. Florida

7. Iowa

8. Illinois

9. Georgia

10. Oklahoma

In contrast, the strugglers are:

42. California

43. Hawaii

44. New Jersey

45. Michigan

46. Ohio

47. Utah

48. New York

49. Kansas

50. Kentucky

51. District of Columbia

These data suggests that looking at large economy like the U.S. simply in terms of overall headlines obscures the dynamics and variations within states, many of which have very different levels of prosperity.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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