july-23-01Despite reports of a decline in unemployment in many states, over half of all states polled in a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report experienced job growth during the month of June. The American national unemployment rate remained steady at 7.9 percent – a figure hides the extreme highs and lows of many state economies.

States with the highest rates of joblessness include Nevada, where over 9.6 percent of formerly working people were unemployed as of June. The state with the lowest unemployment rate was North Dakota, where a resource boom and agriculture are leading major economic growth.

Despite the steady unemployment rate, joblessness increased in 28 states across the nation. The states most affected by the decline in jobs include Tennessee, which lost over 16,500 jobs in then last month as businesses tightened their budgets, and West Virginia, where an estimated 5,000 jobs were shed during the month of May.

Other states, however, saw improved economic activity that resulted in more jobs for once unemployed professionals. California showed the largest improvement in job creation, with a 2.1 percent reduction in joblessness. Texas gained 300,000 new jobs in the last month, setting a record for new job growth in the current economy.

The patchy job growth is indicative of a change in American employment, with the growth states largely driven by resource-based economic advancement and energy industry positions. Midwestern states, once driven by manufacturing, had some of the highest unemployment rates with Illinois and Michigan at 9.2 and 8.7 percent, respectively.

States with large cities, such as New York and California, also have some of the top unemployment rates in the nation. Despite significant improvement, California still has an 8.5 percent unemployment rate, while service capital New York has a total unemployment rate of 7.5 percent.

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