The Market Employment Summary for April 2022
Published On: April 19, 2022
Editor's Note: This report is based on survey data from March 2022 that was published in April 2022. This is the most recent data available. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
For the second straight month, the U.S. unemployment rate dropped by 0.2%, bringing that figure down to 3.6% (a total rate reduction of 2.4% from this time last year).
Interestingly, the unemployment rate reduction was spread out among more states this month than last–up from about 60% last month to about 75% now. Still, only 10 states saw an increase in their payroll numbers, while the rest remained stable.
It is not immediately clear what is causing this asymmetry of distribution across states in the unemployment rate reduction and job gains. However, both trends continue to be positive, especially coupled with the fact that no state lost any ground in either metric and all states continue to improve their numbers or remain steady month-to-month.
Below is the complete breakdown of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) market employment summary for April 2022.
States With the Highest Unemployment Rates
For several consecutive months now, Washington, D.C. has been the “state” with the highest unemployment rate–currently at 6.0%. Although D.C.’s rate has been falling, it did so at half the pace of the U.S. economy, dropping only 0.1% last month.
New Mexico followed the District of Columbia again this month with the next highest unemployment rate at 5.3%. Given that New Mexico had an unemployment rate reduction three times larger than D.C. for the second month in a row, D.C. does not appear to be making much progress catching up.
Across the U.S., about a quarter of states have unemployment rates higher than the U.S. average of 3.6%, while another quarter of states have unemployment rates that are lower. The remaining states have unemployment rates around the national average, so the distribution is fairly balanced.
States With the Lowest Unemployment Rates
For three months in a row, Utah and Nebraska have had the lowest unemployment rates, down another 0.1% and going from 2.1% to 2% over the course of the month.
Indiana follows close behind for the second straight month, also dropping 0.1% to bring its unemployment rate down to 2.2%. Montana rounds out the top three lowest rates for the first time in recent memory at 2.3%.
The unemployment rates in these four states are not just the lowest among states this month. In fact, they represent series lows for each state going back to when these figures began being tracked in the 1970s. In total, eight other states also set new series lows: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. This data further underscores the historic nature of the “V-shaped” recovery.
Rhode Island, on the other hand, had the largest percentage reduction in the unemployment rate at half a percentage point, which is 2.5 times larger than the national average. Rhode Island was followed by California, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, each of which saw their state unemployment rates drop 0.4%.
States With New Job Gains
Once again, California saw the largest numbers of new jobs added to its payrolls (60k) despite adding less than half of the jobs they did last month (140k).
Displacing Florida and Texas this month in the second and third position for biggest job gains were New York and Massachusetts, with about 30k and 20k, respectively.
Mployer Advisor’s Take:
In recent reports, we have made the case that the economy has essentially made a complete recovery from the lows of the pandemic, and this report certainly continues to support that position.
As is always the case, current economic prosperity is not necessarily indicative of future economic prosperity, but it is considerably preferable to the alternative. More to the point, the economic trends noted in this most recent analysis continue to be encouraging.
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Founder and CEO, Mployer Advisor