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First Cut: State unemployment rates little changed in October

State unemployment rates were little changed in October, most only varying by a tenth, if at all. The BLS report noted that rates were down in 4 states and up in 2, and were unchanged in 44 states and the District of Columbia. In spite of some slower economic growth and a pockets of sluggish activity in manufacturing, overall unemployment remains near 50 year lows.

Among the 10 states with the largest share of the labor force, there were no significant changes beyond the usual sort of month-to-month variation of about a tenth of a point. Most are within striking distance of the national rate of 3.6% and at levels that will encourage marginalized workers to try to find employment.

Nonfarm payrolls were up in 4 states in October and down in 1, “and was essentially unchanged in 45 states and the District of Columbia,” the report said.

For the 10 states with the largest share of the labor force, it is interesting to note that all had gains except Michigan and Ohio where the UAW strike at GM probably accounted for pulling down the totals. These will be back in the coming month after the strike was settled. If the overall pace of job gains has slowed, it is still comfortably at one which will absorb new entrants into the labor force.

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