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Unemployment Rate Drops in 39 States in June

This morning, the Department of Labor announced that unemployment declined month-on-month in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Year-on-year, unemployment increased in approximately half of states. In the states as well as nationwide, unemployment rates generally declined because the labor force contracted — not because the states produced new jobs. All in all, only 21 states had more jobs in June than in May, while 27 states had fewer.

The District of Columbia and 16 states had unemployment higher than 10 percent; 32 states have unemployment rates higher than 8 percent. Maine — whose two Republican Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, are expected to cross the aisle to support the extension of unemployment benefits later today — has an unemployment rate of 8 percent. That means the state qualifies, just barely, for the federal extension providing jobless workers with up to 99 weeks of benefits. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) is the only member of the Democratic caucus not in support of the unemployment benefits extension; Nebraska’s unemployment rate is the nation’s third-lowest, at 4.9 percent. Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota are the only states with unemployment rates under 5 percent. In 2007, before the recession hit, the national unemployment rate ranged between 4.4 and 5 percent.

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