(Bloomberg) — A dozen US states saw their unemployment rates fall to a record low last month, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Eighteen states saw a decline in unemployment rates in March, while the rest were essentially unchanged, a BLS report published Friday shows. The biggest declines came in New Hampshire, Oregon and West Virginia, where the rate dropped by 0.3 percentage point in each case. Mississippi, one of the poorest US states, saw a decline of 0.2 percentage point to 3.5%.
Among the states posting new record lows for unemployment was Ohio, where the rate fell to 3.8% from 3.9% in February.
The data point to persistent strength in the US labor market, suggesting that a recession may not be as imminent as some analysts are predicting.
Unemployment was lowest in South Dakota, Nebraska and North Dakota, with rates close to 2% in each case, and below 3% in populous states such as Wisconsin and Florida.
Still, some states have seen their jobless rates increase compared with a year earlier.
In Washington, which has the highest concentration of information sector jobs and is vulnerable to tech-industry layoffs, unemployment rose by 0.6 percentage points over the period. The biggest year-on-year increase has come in Oregon, where the jobless rate was 4.4% last month, up from 3.5% in March 2022.
In California, the nation’s largest state, the unemployment rate held at 4.4% in March and employers added 8,700 nonfarm payroll jobs.
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