Unemployment Plummets in California, Two Other States

(CN) — The unemployment rate fell to record lows in California, Hawaii and Mississippi last month as hiring remains strong across the United States, the Labor Department said Tuesday.

The unemployment rate in California now stands at 4.3 percent, while the rate in Mississippi is 4.6 percent, and in Hawaii, just 2 percent. All are the lowest unemployment rates in those states since 1976, the government’s statisticians said.

Alaska’s unemployment rate is the nation’s highest, at 7.3 percent.

Nationwide, employers added 148,000 jobs last month and the U.S. unemployment rate stayed at 4.1 percent.

Adding perspective to the decline in unemployment in California is a report from the state’s Employment Development Department.

It notes that the unemployment rate in California was 4.6 percent in November 2017, and 5.2 percent in December last year. The significant decline came after the state added 52,700 nonfarm payroll jobs in the last month of the year — a number accounting for more than one-third of the 148,000 jobs created nationally during the period.

The number of unemployed Californians was 839,000 in December – down by 46,000 over
the month, and down by 160,000 compared with December of last year.

California has now gained a total of 2,793,800 jobs since the economic expansion began in February 2010, the Employment Development Department said.

In Hawaii, the state Department of Labor & Industrial Relations said its 2 percent unemployment rate comes on the heels of a revised rate of 2.1 percent for November.

Statewide, 668,600 were employed and 13,550 unemployed in December for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 682,200, the department said.

Mississippi’s 4.6 percent unemployment rate is the lowest level of unemployment ever recorded in the state, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

The December rate was two-tenths of a percentage point lower than a month earlier in November and nine-tenths of a percentage point lower than in December 2016, when the rate was 5.5 percent.

The number of non-farm jobs in Mississippi rose by 2,900 in December to 1,162,800, which are the most jobs ever recorded in Mississippi.

Over the year since December 2016, the number of jobs in the state increased by 17,800.

The latest Labor Department report reveals that employers added more jobs in 10 states and cut them in 3 in December. Employment remained essentially unchanged in the other 37 states.

Wyoming, Montana and Oregon reported the biggest percentage increases in jobs in December. Wyoming added 3,100 jobs, while Montana gained 3,900 and Oregon 14,700.

In all of 2017, Nevada saw the largest percentage increase followed by Oregon and Utah. Nevada added 43,800, Oregon gained 49,300 and Utah added 37,900.

Employers added 2.1 million jobs last year, the fewest in seven years. Hiring typically slows as the unemployment rate falls and there are fewer people to hire. No states saw a significant decline in jobs last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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