Western U.S. Has Highest Jobless Rate; Nevada Worst State, 14.3%

Labor Department also reports 143,703 laid-off workers nationwide in July

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Unemployment this July in individual states was little changed compared to June, with the jobless rate falling in 18 states, rising in 14 states, and staying flat in 18 states, the U.S. Labor Department reported August 20.

On a regional basis, the West's jobless rate was highest in July 2010--10.8%--while the Northeast had the lowest, 8.8%. As for the jobless rate in individual states (and territories), Puerto Rico had a 16.1% unemployment rate in July, followed by Nevada at 14.3%; the Dakotas had the lowest unemployment rates: North Dakota at 3.6%, and South Dakota at 4.4% (see chart below).

Compared to a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' regional and state employment report for July, the largest jobs decrease occurred in Nevada (-1.8%), followed by Mississippi and New Mexico (-1.3% each), Rhode Island (-1.2%), Colorado (-1.1%), and Georgia (-1.0%).

The largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment was reported in the District of Columbia (+3.0%), followed by Alaska (+1.9%), Indiana and North Dakota (+1.7% each), New Hampshire (+1.4%), and Texas (+1.3%).

"No region experienced a statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate change," the BLS said.

Private employers have been wary about hiring new workers all summer because of their uncertainty about where the U.S. economy is headed. The nation's overall unemployment rate has remained at 9.5% in the last two months.

The largest over-the-month increases in employment occurred in Michigan (+27,800), Massachusetts (+13,200), New York (+10,500), and Minnesota (+9,800).

The largest over-the-month employment decreases were in North Carolina (-29,800), New Jersey (-21,200), Illinois (-20,200), California (-9,400), and Kentucky (-8,000).

In other Labor Department news, mass layoffs by employers in July totaled 1,609, which resulted in the separation of 143,703 workers, seasonally adjusted, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month.

Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer. The number of mass layoff events in July decreased by 38 from the prior month, and the number of associated initial claims decreased by 1,835. In July, 307 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 33,381 initial claims.

Read a story about the July jobs report from the archives of InvestmentAdvisor.com.

See also a news story and chart on new jobless claims for the week ended August 14, 2010.

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