The Market Employment Summary for March 2022
Published On: March 28, 2022
Editor's Note: This report is based on survey data from February 2022 that was published in March 2022. This is the most recent data available. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
The U.S. unemployment rate dropped by another 0.2% last month, bringing it down to 3.8%–the exact same unemployment rate reported in March of 2019 (a year before the pandemic began).
Although the pandemic’s impact is still being felt across the nation, the economy is sitting 0.3% above the unemployment rate registered immediately prior to the pandemic. To that end, one could argue that the economic recovery is complete.
In line with arriving near pre-pandemic employment levels, it’s not surprising that the economic gains and newly added jobs are spread out among fewer states than we’ve seen in recent months. For example, unemployment rates were lower in 31 states this month but down 15% to 20% from recent releases, nonetheless.
Similarly, more than half of the states achieved a net gain in new jobs over the month. Twenty-seven states added a substantial number of new jobs to their payrolls while the others remained essentially stable.
With the necessary caveats about the uncertainty about the future aside, this economic recovery could be among the all-time fastest recoveries following major economic downturn–coming back from nearly double the unemployment rate four times faster than 2008’s recession.
Below is the breakdown of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) market employment summary for March 2022.
States With the Highest Unemployment Rates
Once again, Washington, D.C. claimed the highest unemployment rate at 6.1%, though the district’s rate reduction was right in line with the national average at minus 0.2% over the month.
New Mexico, which had the highest unemployment rate after D.C, dropped 0.3% from their unemployment rate, bringing it down to 5.6%.
California and Alaska, the states with the highest unemployment rates after New Mexico, both saw a 0.2% reduction in their rates from month to month (down to 5.4%).
In total last month, 19 states had unemployment rates that were not meaningfully different from the U.S. unemployment rate of 3.8%, while 18 states had lower unemployment rates and 13 states (plus D.C.) had higher unemployment rates.
Over the year, Kentucky had the smallest reduction in the unemployment rate, at just half of one percent.
States With the Lowest Unemployment Rates
Utah and Nebraska tied for the lowest unemployment rate for the second straight month, each dropping 0.1% from their rates over the period to reach 2.1%. Indiana and Kansas had the next lowest unemployment rates, with 2.3% and 2.5%, respectively.
Nebraska also had the greatest reduction in the unemployment rate over the last year, dropping 4.7% in that 12-month period.
States With New Job Gains
California, Florida, and Texas added the most new jobs to their payrolls last month. California dwarfed its closest comparable during the period with nearly 140,000 new jobs, or over 75% more new jobs than Florida added at about 80,000. Texas rounded out the top three with about 50,000 new jobs.
In terms of percentage payroll growth, Nebraska topped yet another list as the state with the largest percentage gain in jobs figures last month at 1.2%, followed by Washington and Wyoming at plus 0.9% each.
Mployer Advisor’s Take:
Throughout the pandemic, it has been difficult to square relatively rosy economic forecasts with the number of variables that could knock the recovery off track. Yet, over and over again, the economic reports continue to exceed even optimistic expectations.
Many of those variables still exist, of course, having recently been joined by the conflict in Ukraine, high gas prices, and inflation. As always, only time will tell, but the track record of those predicting prosperity in the months to come is becoming increasingly difficult to dismiss.
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Founder and CEO, Mployer Advisor