Economy Watch: State Unemployment Rates Reach New Lows

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2017

By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2017

The national unemployment rate (4.4 percent) is as low as it’s been in years, but state rates are low as well, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday. That bodes well for residential absorption, as well as some kinds of commercial real estate, such as office. Retail, on the other hand, might not benefit as much—it’s arguably overbuilt in many places and faces the challenge of online sales.

Unemployment rates were lower in April compared with March in 10 states, higher in only one state, and stable in 39 states and the District of Columbia, the BLS reported. Nineteen states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, while 31 states and D.C. experienced little or no change.

Colorado had the lowest unemployment rate in April, at 2.3 percent, followed by Hawaii and North Dakota, at 2.7 percent each. In the case of Colorado, that’s the lowest rate since the BLS began reporting these numbers in 1976. New Mexico and Alaska had the highest jobless rates, at 6.7 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively.

Twenty-eight states had year-over-year increases in payroll employment in April. The largest job gains were in Texas (up 258,900), California (up 236,700) and Florida (up 15,400). The largest percentage gain happened in Nevada (up 3.6 percent), followed by Utah (up 3.3 percent) and Florida, Georgia, and Idaho (up 2.6 percent each).

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