The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that regional and state employment numbers were “little changed in January.” The national unemployment rate rose from 7.8 percent in December to 7.9 percent in January. (The state data has a slight time lag, as we know that the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent in February.) As we have seen in past releases, North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate in January (3.3 percent). California has the highest rate – supplanting Nevada, which has had this honor for much of the past couple years – with 9.8 percent of its population unemployed.
In terms of manufacturing employment, the sector added 12,000 additional nonfarm payroll workers nationally in January. The states with the largest increases in manufacturing employment for the month were North Carolina (up 5,400), Wisconsin (up 4,500), Iowa (up 2,600), New Jersey (up 2,400), and Michigan (up 2,300). California had the most manufacturing sector job losses for the month, down 2,900.
Manufacturers have added over 500,000 net new workers since the end of 2009, boosted by strong demand for durable goods especially, particularly for autos. With that in mind, the top five states for manufacturing employment growth since December 2009 were Michigan (up 88,100), Texas (up 55,700), Indiana (up 50,900), Ohio (up 47,600), and Wisconsin (up 34,800).
Chad Moutray is the chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.
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