Florida Accounts for Much of Nationwide Decrease in Employment

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 28 states and decreased in 23 states and the District of Columbia in September 2017 compared to August 2017. Although the majority of states recorded a monthly increase, the decline across the state of Florida was large enough to offset those gains. As a result, payroll employment nationwide declined over the month.

The largest increase in employment was in California (52,200), followed by Washington (13,800) and Indiana (11,400). The largest decrease in employment over the month occurred in Florida (127,400), followed by New York (34,100) and Illinois (10,800). In percentage terms. In percentage terms, which adjust for the size of the state’s jobs market, the largest increase occurred in Nebraska and Hawaii (0.5%), followed by Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, and Washington (0.4%). The largest decreases occurred in Florida (1.5%), Wyoming (0.9%), and New Hampshire and Rhode Island (0.7%).

At the same time, the majority of the states and the District of Columbia had year-over-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment in September 2017 compared to year ago. Only two states, Wyoming and Kansas declined, falling by 3,100 and 5,100 respectively. During the previous 12 months, the largest job gains occurred in California (280,300), Texas (256,100), and New York (93,100). The largest percentage gains occurred in Nevada and Utah (2.5%), followed by Maryland (2.4%).

Nationwide, the unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage points reflecting decreases across the majority of locales. Over the past 12 month, ending in September 2017, the unemployment rate declined in 27 states, was unchanged in 13, and increased in ten states and the District of Columbia. North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate in September, 2.4%, closely followed by Colorado and Hawaii, 2.5%. Alaska had the highest jobless rate, 7.2%, followed by the District of Columbia, 6.5% and New Mexico, 6.2%. Forty-two states had the jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, seven states and the District of Columbia had an increase while New York had no change.

Several U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands suffered heavy damage from three major hurricanes in late August and September 2017. Below, the charts show the impact that hurricanes can have on monthly job numbers and initial unemployment claims in Texas and Florida from 2001-2017. Historically, initial unemployment insurance claims can increase immediately after a hurricane and the pace of jobs can decline outright. But the chart suggests that the trend returns within a few months.

The 7,300 jobs lost in Texas in September, was the worst since March 2016, when the state lost 9,400 jobs as oil prices cratered. The jobs lost in September were concentrated in the leisure & hospitality, trade, transportation, and utilities, education and health services, and Information sectors.

In Florida, the sharp one-month drop of 127,400 was the biggest in recent history and contributed to the overall national job loss. The previous largest drop in employment in Florida was during the Great Recession when the state shrunk by 69,500 jobs. Leisure & hospitality, mining and lodging, construction, manufacturing, trade, transportation, and utilities, professional and business services, education and health services sectors lost jobs in September 2017. However, part of the jobs lost in September could be attributed to seasonal trends, where sectors such as hospitality typically lose jobs as the year comes to an end.

In September, out of the 44 states which reported construction sector jobs data, 24 states reported an increase, while 19 states reported a monthly decline, and the number of construction jobs in Indiana remained unchanged compared with August 2017. Oregon had the largest increase in job growth with 2.9% closely followed by Mississippi (2.8%) and Vermont (2.7%). The largest decline was in Florida where total employment in construction fell by 4.1%. Idaho declined 2.9% and Connecticut declining 2.6% during this time. Texas construction employment increased 0.6% in September.

Year-over-year, Oregon had the highest annualized growth at 14.9%. Rhode Island and Nevada round up the top three with 13.7% and 12.6% growth respectively. Over this period, Iowa had the largest decline at 8.1%, followed by Missouri (5.3%) and Connecticut (4.3%). Year-over-year, Florida and Texas grew 2.6% and 2.0% respectively in the construction job sector.

These tables provide more information about each individual state.



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