The U.S. employment picture is looking decidedly brighter at the end of 2012 than it did a year ago. For its final report of the year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the unemployment rate dropped in 45 states in November; nowhere did it rise.
Over the year, only six states showed an increase in unemployment: Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and South Dakota. One — Pennsylvania — had no change. But all 43 other states and the District of Columbia reduced their unemployment during the year. Nevada, which at 10.8% unemployment in November, has the highest rate in the nation, also made the most progress in putting people back to work. The state dropped 2.4 points over the year.
Over the year, nonfarm employment increased in 45 states and decreased in five states and the District of Columbia. The largest over-the-year percentage increase occurred in North Dakota (+4.7 percent), almost all of it due to the petroleum industry and support industries.
The BLS says over the year, 29 states had significant gains in employment, while only West Virginia lost jobs. (-13,800). The largest over-the-year jobs increase occurred in Texas (+278,800), followed by California (+268,600) and Ohio (+100,400).