U.S. News

Three States Set New Unemployment Records

Bertha Coombs,|CNBC Reporter

Three states set new record unemployment rates in October, according to data released today by the U.S. Labor Department.

State of the States

California (12.5 percent), Florida (11.2 percent), and Delaware (8.7 percent) hit new jobless highs, as did Washington, D.C. (11.9 percent). New York lost the most jobs since the previous month (15,300) and Texas gained the most (41,700).

Across the country, unemployment rates jumped month-to-month in 29 states, dropped in 13 states, and stayed the same in eight states. Nine states have jobless rates above 10.2 percent, the national rate. Here are key highlights of the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Bucking The Trend: State Job Gains

Michigan: Still has the highest unemployment rate in the U.S., but is showing signs of stabilization. The jobless rate dipped .2% last month to just over 15%, where it has hovered since June.

Total employment grew in October for the first time since mid-2007. A net increase of 16,000 jobs came from continued gains in manufacturing and gains in construction job for the first time this year.

In Detroit, the unemployment rate dropped .4% to 17.3%, with employment in the motor city expanding for the first time since April of this year.

Losing Ground: Unemployment Climbs

Illinois: Unemployment grew half a point to 11% in October, the highest level in 26 years. While the pace of job losses has slowed, state director of employment security, Maureen O’Donnell says “Past economic recoveries suggest the nation will begin to benefit from a growing economy, before unemployment rates in Illinois begin to retreat.”

Nevada: The state's casino industry has been hit hard by the recession. Nevada has the second highest jobless rate in the nation, 13 percent. But the rate dropped four-tenths of a percent in October.

Record High Unemployment: New Worries

California: Although the state actually gained 25,700 jobs in October, its unemployment rate jumped to 12.5 percent, its highest ever. The Bureau of Labor Statistic's Pacific geographic division, which includes California and Nevada, leads the nation at 11.8 percent unemplyment.

Florida: One of nine states this year which has seen the highest levels of unemployment on record, since the Great Depression. The unprecedented demand for jobless benefits has depleted the Sunshine State’s unemployment trust fund. Now, the state is raising unemployment taxes paid by employers more than 10-fold to help replenish that fund. The minimum tax will jump from $8.40 per employee to $100.30, starting in January.

In Wall Street’s Back Yard: A Mixed Picture

New York: Unemployment rose .2% to 8.9%, as the state lost another 15,000 jobs in October. Private sector payroll contraction resulted in the lion's share of the job declines, with nearly 13-thousand private employer jobs last month.


The state’s jobless woes are worst in Wall Street’s hometown, New York City, where unemployment remained at 10.3% for a second month. Take out the big apple, and New York state’s unemployment rate would be closer to 8%.

After a hopeful rebound in financial services jobs in September, finance jobs retreated last month by nearly 2,000—but that preliminary number is not seasonally adjusted. Since last October, 35,600 finance jobs in the state have disappeared.

Connecticut: Despite a gain of one thousand new jobs, Connecticut’s unemployment also jumped up nearly half a point, to 8.8% in October, that after the September unemployment rate was also revised higher. The home state of the insurance and hedge fund industries saw financial services jobs decline for the seventh consecutive month.

New Jersey: Unemployment rate remains nearly a full point higher than its neighbors in New York and Connecticut, but saw a slight dip to 9.7% last month. The state saw a net loss of 1800 jobs. Construction jobs rose by 1600, but were offset by an equal number of real estate job losses. Financial services jobs remained steady.