State Employment Trends

Release date: April 2012

March 2012 Data Highlights


  • The US unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in March, down from 8.3 in February and down from 8.9 percent in March 2011.
  • The majority of states saw an improvement in the employment rate. Thirty states saw the unemployment rate improve in March; an additional 12 states and D.C. saw no increase. From one month ago, Mississippi and Oklahoma had the biggest improvements, seeing a 0.6 percent drop in the unemployment rate.
  • Since March one year ago, nearly all states and D.C. have had an improvement in the unemployment rate. Only New York saw an increase in the unemployment rate. Alabama and Michigan had the largest improvement in this period at 2.0 percent each.
  • In March, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Vermont had the lowest unemployment rates - all under 5 percent. At the same time, 3 states had double-digit unemployment rates.

Payroll Jobs and Outlook:

  • 45 states and the District of Columbia had positive job growth in the last year, and 29 states and D.C. had positive job growth in March, a time when net growth was about 120,000 jobs for the nation. The average change among states was 0.2 percent.
  • The greatest job growth in March was in Arizona, while Maine had the largest job decline (both as a share of previous payrolls).
  • Compared to one year ago, North Dakota has seen the greatest increase in payroll jobs while Wisconsin has seen the largest decline (both as a share of previous payrolls).
  • The following slides show state-level detail of unemployment rates and payroll employment.

Next release: May 21, 2012