04/16/2010 04:38 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

March Unemployment in the States


March unemployment rates for the states are out today. Some down slightly, some up or steady. Here is the lede from the BLS report:

Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in March.

Twenty-four states recorded over-the-month unemployment rate increases,

17 states and the District of Columbia registered rate decreases, and 9

states had no rate change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported

today. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia recorded jobless

rate increases from a year earlier, 5 states had decreases, and 1 state

had no change.

The number of jobs rose in 33 states and declined in 17, consistent with the addition of jobs nationally in March. So while the balance of results are improving there remain a significant minority of states not yet enjoying an improved jobs situation.

The chart above shows the trends by state with national comparisons.

The chart below shows the change over the past 12 months, March 2009 to March 2010. The states are mostly above the black 45 degree line, showing the general rise in unemployment among 44 states, with only 6 decreases or no change. The blue line shows the linear relationship over the year, illustrating what we might expect in 2010 given where a state was in 2009 and the overall pattern of change in those 12 months.


Finally, we can look at which states are doing better than expected and which worse, compared to the blue linear fit line. The chart below shows the residuals for that fit against current state unemployment. Below zero means a state is doing better (has lower unemployment) than expected based on where they were a year ago. Above zero are states doing worse (higher unemployment) than expected.


The most interesting take-aways here are the two states in the top right corner: Nevada and Florida have both high current unemployment AND have higher than expected rates. And to make matters worse, both Nevada and Florida lost non-farm jobs from February to March. The electoral troubles Senator Reid and Governor Crist find themselves in might be somewhat less if their states were in happier circumstances. Not the whole story of course, but it certainly doesn't help.