Jobs Picture Showed Progress In Most US States Last Month

Most US states saw unemployment decline in November, according to a government report, the latest sign that the jobs picture is beginning to improve as the economy recovers.

Unemployment Line

Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia reported lower unemployment last month, according to the Labor Department. Eight states showed increases and six states had no change.

The state declines come as the national unemployment rate showed a surprise drop in November to 10 percent from 10.2 percent in October.

Michigan, which still has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, saw its rate fall to 14.7 percent in November from 15.1 percent in October. It is the first reidng below 15 percent snce May.

Unemployment Improving

The state is showing some signs of stabilization, said Rick Waclawek, director of Michigan’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

“We’re going to be following the national economy,” said Waclawek. “We’ve already had the major layoffs and bankruptcies, now it depends on the national recovery.”

It’s the second month in a row that Michigan has seen its unemployment rate fall, and the first time the rate fell below 15 percent since May, according to the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Coming behind Michigan is Rhode Island, with a 12.7 percent unemployment rate, followed by California, Nevada and South Carolina (12.3 percent each).

North Dakota again had the lowest rate in country at 4.1 percent, followed by Nebraska, (4.5 percent) and South Dakota (5.0 percent).

But the news wasn’t all good: two states, South Carolina and Florida (11.3 percent), reached record highs.

Job creation has become a major focus of the administration as it looks to an economic recovery. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama held a job forum at the White House, meeting with CEOs and labor officials, calling on them to find ways to jump-start job creation.

“Despite the progress we've made, many businesses are still skittish about hiring,” Obama said.