The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that regional and state employment numbers were “generally lower in November.” This should not be a surprise given that the national unemployment rate fell to 8.6, as reported earlier this month. Nevada continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the country at 13.0 percent, down from 13.4 percent in October. North Dakota’s 3.4 percent unemployment rate makes it the lowest.
New York and Texas had the largest monthly increases in nonfarm employment with 29,500 and 20,800 net new jobs, respectively. They were followed by South Carolina (up 16,600), Georgia (up 13,000) and New Jersey (up 10,300). The two states with the weakest monthly job growth were Wisconsin (down 14,600) and Minnesota (down 13,700).
Looking just at manufacturing employment, the U.S. added just 2,000 net new manufacturing jobs in November. Ohio and Texas experienced the fastest employment growth for the month among manufacturers, with 4,400 and 3,900 net new jobs, respectively. At the other end of the spectrum, California had the largest monthly losses, with 8,000 fewer manufacturing workers in November.
Taking a longer view, Oklahoma has experienced the highest rate of employment growth this year, with 7.5 percent more manufacturing workers in November 2011 than in December 2010. The figure below shows the top ten states for manufacturing job growth expressed as a percentage of total manufacturing employment in the state. Note that in absolute terms, Texas (up 23,300) and Michigan (up 21,600) had the largest manufacturing gains.
Chad Moutray is chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.