State Unemployment Keeps Rising; Three Hit Record Highs

Woman filing for unemployment
Woman filing for unemployment

Unemployment continued to rise in many states in August, with joblessness in three states— California, Nevada, and Rhode Island—reaching record highs, according to government data released Friday.

In all, the rate rose from July in 27 states and the District of Columbia, declined in 16 states and was unchanged in seven others, according to the Labor Department.

Michigan, again, had the highest jobless rate in the nation at 15.2 percent, matching its June level.

“We haven’t seen any major changes over this period of time,” Rick Waclawek, director of the state's Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth's Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

Video: CNBC's Bertha Coombs looks at the employment picture in various states.

By contrast, in August 2008, Michigan had a jobless rate of 8.6 percent.

Nevada had the second highest unemployment rate of 13.2 percent, followed by Rhode Island at 12.8 percent. California and Oregon were tied for fourth place at 12.2 percent.

The top five states--Michigan, Nevada, Rhode Island, California, and Oregon—all had rates over 12 percent.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia surpassed the August national jobless rate of 9.7 percent. National data for September is due out the first week of October.

At 4.3 percent, North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate in the country, which was also the case in July.

Regionally, the West led the nation with a jobless rate of 10.6 percent, followed by the Midwest at 10.0 percent and the South at 9.2 percent. The Northeast recorded the lowest rate at 9.0 percent.

To see which states had the highest jobless rates, click on to our slideshow.