Employment Rose in Most States in December 2017


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 33 states and the District of Columbia, unchanged in two states, and decreased in 15 states in December 2017 compared to November 2017. Year-over-year, 49 states increased employment while two states lost payroll employment during this time. As a result payroll employment nationwide rose in December.

The largest increase in employment was in California (52,700), followed by Florida (27,400) and Oregon (14,700). The largest decrease in employment over the month occurred in Maryland (20,200), followed by New Jersey (11,400) and Arkansas 6,500). Between November and December 2017, in percentage terms, which adjust for the size of the state’s jobs market, the largest increases occurred in Wyoming (1.13%), Montana (0.82%), and Oregon (0.78%). During the same time period, the largest decreases occurred in Maryland (0.73%), New Hampshire (0.69%), and Arkansas (0.52%).

At the same time, the majority of the states and the District of Columbia had year-over-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment in December 2017 compared to year ago. Only two states, Alaska and Delaware declined, by a combined 2,800. During the previous 12 months, the largest job gains occurred in California (342,500), Texas (306,900), and Florida (213,500). The largest percentage gains occurred in Nevada (3.31%), followed by Oregon (2.66%) and Utah (2.61%).

Nationwide, the unemployment rate was unchanged from November at 4.1% but was 0.6 percentage points lower than in December 2016. Compared to November 2017, the unemployment rate declined in 24 states and the District of Columbia, was unchanged in nine, and increased in 17 states in December 2017. Hawaii had the lowest unemployment rate in December, 2.0%, followed by New Hampshire and North Dakota (2.6%), and Nebraska (2.7%). Alaska had the highest jobless rate, 7.3%, followed by the District of Columbia and New Mexico, 6.0%. Forty-two states had the jobless rate decreases from a year earlier while eight states and the District of Columbia had an increase

In December, out of the 44 states which reported construction sector jobs data, 30 states had an increase, 12 states reported a decline, and two remained unchanged compared with November 2017. Montana had the largest increase in job growth with 5.51% followed by Minnesota (4.69%) and Oklahoma (3.55%). The largest decline was in New Jersey where total employment in construction fell by 2.71%. New Hampshire declined 2.46% and North Dakota declining 2.23% during this time.


Year-over-year, Nevada had the highest annual growth in its construction sector by 12.79%. Rhode Island (11.29%), and Oklahoma (10.72%) round out the top three. Over this period, Iowa reported the largest decline at 9.25%, followed by Missouri (7.15%) and North Dakota (4.06%).

These tables provide more information about each individual state.

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