(Updates with additional data starting in fourth paragraph.)
Aug. 17 (Bloomberg) — The jobless rate climbed in 44 U.S. states in July, showing last month’s increase in unemployment was broad based.
Alabama and Alaska registered the worst performance, with joblessness advancing by 0.5 percentage point in each, figures from the labour Department showed today in Washington. Payrolls grew in 31 states last month, led by California and Michigan.
Across the nation, the unemployment rate rose to 8.3 per cent in July, a five-month high, even as employment increased by the most since February. Faster hiring is needed to spur consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 per cent of the economy, and to help reduce elevated joblessness that remains a concern for Federal Reserve policy makers.
Payrolls gains are “probably not enough to make really significant sort of progress on improving unemployment rates,” Jeremy Lawson, senior U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York, said before the report. “Firms are waiting on more clarity as to what general direction things are headed.”
Unemployment jumped to 8.3 per cent in Alabama from 7.8 per cent in June, and climbed to 7.7 per cent in Alaska from 7.2 per cent, today’s report showed. Nevada, where the rate rose to 12 per cent from 11.6 per cent, remained the state with the highest level of joblessness in the country.
Rhode Island, at 10.8 per cent, was second, followed by California at 10.7 per cent.
North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, even as it rose to 3 per cent from 2.9 per cent the prior month.
Two states, Idaho and Rhode Island, showed a drop in their unemployment rates. Joblessness was unchanged in four states.
New Jersey’s jobless rate jumped to a 35-year high of 9.8 per cent in July from 9.6 per cent in June. The state lost 12,000 positions, including cuts in manufacturing, construction, and professional and business services, according to figures released by New Jersey officials yesterday.
Unemployment in New York rose to 9.1 per cent, the highest since 1983, and payrolls dropped by 3,700 workers.
The figures reflect the cutbacks at financial firms, which are trimming jobs as revenue softens. Morgan Stanley has said its headcount will drop by about 700 in the second half, bringing total 2012 reductions to 4,000. Credit Suisse Group AG planned to eliminate 138 positions in New York starting this month. Deutsche Bank AG will cut about 1,900 jobs by year-end, mostly outside Germany.
Today’s report also showed employers in California added 25,200 workers to payrolls in July, and those in Michigan took on 21,800 more employees. Virginia was third, with a 21,300 gain. New Jersey and Missouri had the biggest decreases.
State and local employment data are derived independently from the national statistics, which are typically released on the first Friday of every month. The state figures are subject to larger sampling errors because they come from smaller surveys, making the national figures more reliable, according to the government’s Bureau of labour Statistics.
Employers nationwide added 163,000 jobs last month, more than the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg and following a revised 64,000 gain in June, labour Department data showed on Aug. 3. The increase, driven by automakers and health- care providers, eased concern the three-year economic expansion is faltering.
Including the July gain, the U.S. has recovered 4 million of the 8.8 million jobs lost as a result of the 18-month recession that ended in June 2009.
At the same time, the jobless rate has exceeded 8 per cent for 42 consecutive months, the longest stretch in the post-World War II era.
“Growth in employment has been slow in recent months, and the unemployment rate remains elevated,” Fed policy makers said in a statement on Aug. 1 after their meeting.
–With assistance from Michelle Jamrisko in Washington. Editors: Carlos Torres, Kevin Costelloe
To contact the reporters on this story: Shobhana Chandra in Washington [email protected]
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at [email protected]