Economy Watch: Most States Still Making Progress on Job Creation

The national unemployment rate as of December is a relatively healthy 5 percent.

The national unemployment rate as of December is a relatively healthy 5 percent, 0.6 percentage points lower than a year earlier, but more localized patterns of employment tend to have more of an impact on real estate markets. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Tuesday that 25 states had unemployment rate decreases from November, 14 states suffered increases, and 11 states and the District of Columbia experienced no change.

The largest month-over-month increases in employment occurred in California (up 60,400 jobs), Texas (up 24,900) and Florida (up 21,900). The largest monthly declines in employment occurred in Illinois (with a loss of 16,300 jobs), Oklahoma (down 5,100) and North Dakota (down 4,000).

Compared with a year ago, the news is better: 42 states and the D.C. enjoyed unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, while only eight states had increases. Year-over-year, largest significant job increase occurred in California (up 459,400 jobs), followed by Florida (up 233,100) and Texas (up 166,900).

North Dakota had the lowest jobless rate in December, coming in at 2.7 percent, followed by Nebraska and South Dakota, at 2.9 percent each. New Mexico had the highest rate, 6.7 percent. Among the 10 largest states by population, California and Illinois had the highest unemployment rates at 5.8 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively.