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December Unemployment Rate Increases in 43 States

January 26, 2010

The national unemployment rate was unchanged in December at 10 percent, but was 2.6 percentage points higher than the year-ago period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Forty-three states and the District of Columbia recorded over-the-month unemployment rate increases in December, while four states registered rate decreases, and three states had no rate change.

Twenty-seven states posted jobless rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 10 percent. Additionally, 10 states and the District of Columbia had measurably higher rates, while 13 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

Michigan again recorded the highest unemployment rate among the states at 14.6 percent in December. The states with the next highest rates were Nevada (13.0 percent), Rhode Island (12.9 percent) and South Carolina (12.6 percent).

North Dakota continued to register the lowest jobless rate at 4.4 percent in December, followed by Nebraska and South Dakota at 4.7 percent each.

Looking at regional unemployment, the West had the highest regional jobless rate in December at 10.7 percent, while the Northeast recorded the lowest rate at 9.2 percent. Over the year, all four regions registered significant rate increases, the largest of which was in the West (+3.3 percentage points).

Overall in 2009, unemployment rates increased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with all states and the District of Columbia recording statistically significant increases in their jobless rates from December 2008. The largest of these increases were in Nevada and West Virginia (+4.6 percentage points each), closely followed by Alabama (+4.5 points) and Michigan (+4.4 points). The smallest rate increases occurred in Minnesota and Nebraska (+0.8 percentage point each).

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