Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in March. Thirty states recorded unemployment rate decreases, 8 states posted rate increases, and 12 states and the District of Columbia had no change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia registered unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, while New York experienced an increase. The national jobless rate was little changed from February at 8.2 percent but was 0.7 percentage point lower than in March 2011.
In March 2012, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 29 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 20 states, and was unchanged in Alabama. The largest over-the-month increase in employment occurred in New York (+19,100), followed by California (+18,200) and Arizona (+13,500). The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in Ohio (-9,500), followed by New Jersey (-8,600) and Wisconsin (-4,500). Arizona experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment (+0.6 percent), followed by the District of Columbia and Nebraska (+0.5 percent each). Maine experienced the largest over-the-month percentage decline in employment (-0.5 percent), followed by Wyoming (-0.3 percent). Over the year, nonfarm employment increased in 45 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 4 states, and was unchanged in Alabama. The largest over-the-year percentage increase occurred in North Dakota (+6.5 percent). The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred in Wisconsin (-0.9 percent).