Amidst positive reports of earlier gains, it was reported that more states lost jobs than added in November, indicating that hiring is occurring only sporadically nationwide. Friday’s Labor Department report underscored that employers have yet to ramp up hiring. The number of people out of work for six months or more increased last month to 5.9 million, according to a separate report released earlier this month.
In some states, signs are emerging of people rejoining the work force to seek jobs as the economy slowly improves. Of the eight states where unemployment rose, five added jobs. All but one saw their work forces grow, indicating that more people are looking for work. Similarly, unemployment rates can drop when people give up looking for jobs. The figures for jobs and unemployment don’t always match because they come from separate reports, while the unemployment rate is calculated from a survey of households. The jobs count reflects a survey of businesses.
Overall, only 19 states added jobs in November, a decrease from October’s number of 28. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia suffered a net loss of jobs. While 36 states saw a decrease in unemployment rates, the trend appeared to reflect more people leaving the work force than gaining jobs. Unemployed people not looking for work are not counted in the labor force.
The Department of Labor named four statistically important employment changes in the states of Michigan, Nevada, Mississippi and Hawaii; all four showed job losses. The states with largest jobs gains are Texas, Ohio, Georgia, Arizona and Iowa. The states that saw their labor forces grow faster than they could add jobs were Ohio, South Carolina, Georgia and Idaho.
In Nebraska and Texas, unemployment fell even while people entered the labor force, a sign of relatively robust job markets. In Texas, hiring was even across many sectors, including finance, professional and business services, education and health, hospitality and government. The only areas that suffered job losses were construction, manufacturing, and trade, transportation and utilities.
Since November 2008, all 50 states have seen a net loss of jobs and a rise in their unemployment rates. November’s jobs picture is bleaker than October’s, in part because last month’s gains were driven by a rise in temporary employment, economists said. Temporary hiring often is a sign that employers are gearing up to add full-time jobs.
Still, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 10 percent November from October’s 10.2 percent, the first unemployment decline since July. Economists called it a hopeful sign that the economy is on the mend, albeit slowly.