States with some of the highest unemployment in the country showed some improvement in October, though the decline partly reflected an increase in people who gave up looking for work.
Overall, 19 states and the District of Columbia reported lower jobless rates in October. Fourteen states showed rate increases and 17 states had no rate change, the Labor Department said.
Nevada, which has the highest joblessness in the country, saw its rate fall to 14.2 percent from 14.4 percent in September, the first decline in nearly five years.
“Though the recession appears to be bottoming out, especially with regard to unemployment, many key industries remain weak," said Bill Anderson, chief economist for the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, in a statement. "The number of jobs being eliminated is stabilizing, but there is no sign of major job growth on the horizon.”
The fall in Nevada’s rate was also attributed to people ending their job search in the state.
“Most likely, a number of workers have moved out of the state, while some have become discouraged and stopped looking for work,” Anderson said.
Michigan had the second highest jobless rate at 12.8 percent in October, down from 13.0 percent in September. It’s the first time the state has seen its rate below 13 percent since March 2009.
Michigan has seen modest gains in the health care, manufacturing and temporary help sectors, helping offset job losses in government and hospitality services.
California was third with a 12.4 percent jobless rate, followed by Florida (11.9 percent), Rhode Island (11.4 percent). (See the states with the 10 highest rates in our slideshow.) Once again, North Dakota had the lowest rate in the country at 3.8 percent.
The national jobless rate in October remained unchanged at 9.6 percent.