The Market Employment Summary for August 2022
Published On: August 22, 2022
Editor's Note: This report is based on survey data from July 2022 that was published in August 2022. This is the most recent data available. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
In July’s report, there were indications that the economy, specifically the labor market, may have hit its high-water mark.
Despite some positive movement at the time regarding the number of states reporting job growth, the downward pull from other economic indicators suggested that unemployment figures–which had proven stable much of the year–had bottomed out and would now climb.
However, the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that the unemployment rate was not done dropping, now falling below 3.5% to officially rank as the lowest registered unemployment rate in the United States over the last half-century.
Below is the breakdown of the BLS’ market employment summary for August 2022.
States With the Highest Unemployment Rates
The District of Columbia reported the highest unemployment rate last month, as it has most of the year (currently at 5.2%). Despite this consistency, Washington, D.C.’s unemployment rate is not only trending but accelerating in the right direction, reporting unemployment rate reductions of minus 0.1%, minus 0.2%, and minus 0.3% over the past three months.
New Mexico continues to follow closely behind Washington, D.C. as the state with the second-highest unemployment rate, citing an unemployment rate of 4.5% for both New Mexico and Alaska.
Like Washington, D.C., New Mexico has been trending in a positive direction, this month registering the largest percentage unemployment rate reduction among all states at minus 0.4%.
In total, 14 states and Washington, D.C. saw reductions in their unemployment rates. Currently only 17 states currently have unemployment rates below the national average, which is down from 20 the month before.
The state with the largest decrease in unemployment last year was California at minus 3.5%, followed by Rhode Island at minus 3.3%.
States With the Lowest Unemployment Rates
Minnesota (1.8%) claimed the title of “state with the lowest unemployment rate” for the second consecutive month.
Nebraska, Utah, and New Hampshire) are currently reporting 2% unemployment, with another seven states reporting series lows: Alaska (4.5%), California (3.9%), Georgia (2.8%), Louisiana (3.6%), Mississippi (3.6%), Missouri (2.5%), and Washington (3.7%).
Only Indiana, Montana, and Nebraska registered unemployment rate increases last month, at plus 0.1%, plus 0.2%, and plus 0.2%, respectively. In total, 10 states and Washington, D.C. had unemployment rates higher than the national average.
States With New Job Gains
There was significant parity among the population centers last month. California, Florida, and Texas topped the list of states with the largest number of new jobs added, reporting about 85K, 74K, and 73K new jobs, respectively.
Hawaii saw the largest percentage increase on its payrolls with a 1.3% addition, followed by Nebraska and Missouri at plus 0.9% each.
In total, 20 states saw the number of employed workers increase throughout the month, while job figures remained essentially unchanged in 28 states and Washington, D.C.
States With New Job Losses
Only two states–neighbors Tennessee and Kentucky–saw the number of jobs decrease last month, each by about 12K. Because Tennessee has a larger labor force, the percentage decrease was about 0.2% higher for Kentucky at minus 0.6%, relative to Tennessee’s 0.4% contraction.
Tennessee also had the largest percentage increase in new payroll additions last month, as well as the second largest increase in raw jobs at 32K during that period.
Mployer Advisor’s Take:
Considering the historic nature of the current unemployment rate, modest gains and stability are welcome outcomes made all the more impressive considering recent interest rate increases and the lack of inflationary growth registered in July.
Whether or not this report indicates a greater resiliency in the economy or merely a blip, the economy seems determined to continue humming along unabated for the time being.
As always, we will check back in next month to assess new developments as they arise.
Looking for more exclusive content? Check out the Mployer Advisor blog, or review last month's market employment summary here.
Director of Content, Mployer Advisor