The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported regional and state employment numbers for May, noting modest nonfarm payroll gains in employment overall . The national unemployment rate rose from 7.5 percent in April to 7.6 percent in May, largely on more workers seeking employment. The highest unemployment rates in the country were in Nevada (9.5 percent), Illinois (9.1 percent), and Mississippi (9.1 percent), with North Dakota continuing to have the lowest (3.2 percent).
On a year-over-year basis, the states with the largest changes were California (down 2.1 points to 8.6 percent), Nevada (down 2.0 points to 9.5 percent), Florida (down 1.7 points to 7.1 percent), Rhode Island (down 1.7 points to 8.9 percent), and Washington (down 1.6 points to 6.8 percent).
Manufacturing has been somewhat challenged so far in the first five months of 2013, adding just 16,000 additional workers year-to-date. Between March and May, the sector shed 21,000 workers, reflecting recent weaknesses. Yet, there were some states where there was net gains year-to-date in manufacturing employment. The top six were: Ohio (up 8,600), Michigan (up 5,700), Iowa (up 3,700), Wisconsin (up 3,400), Washington (up 3,300), and Kentucky (up 3,200). New York had the most job losses in the first five months of this year, down 8,900 in the sector.
Looking at a longer time frame, manufacturers had added almost 500,000 net new workers since the end of 2009, with strong gains in the durable goods sectors, particularly autos. It should not be a surprise then to note that Michigan has contributed the most new manufacturing jobs since the end of the recession, with 91,500 new workers on net. Other states with significant gains include Texas (up 55,900), Ohio (up 54,600), Indiana (up 49,000), Wisconsin (up 33,700), and Washington (up 30,100).
Chad Moutray is the chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers