Nevada is tops in unemployment

The state's 14% unemployment rate tops Michigan as construction employment crashes. North Dakota has the nation's lowest jobless rate.

By Charley Blaine Jun 18, 2010 2:12PM

Nevada has a distinction it probably doesn't want: the nation's highest unemployment rate -- 14%. That's up from 13.7% in April and 11.5% in May 2009 and an all-time low of 3.8% in April 2000.

This is the first time Nevada has had the highest unemployment rate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said today,  and the first time since April 2006 that Michigan didn't have the highest unemployment rate.


Not that Michigan is doing well. It's second with a 13.6% unemployment rate (down from 14% in April). Michigan is followed by California at 12.4% (down from 12.6%); Rhode Island, 12.3% (down from April's 12.5%); and Florida, 11.7% (down from April's 12%.).

North Dakota has the smallest unemployment rate, at 3.6%, followed by South Dakota, 4.6%; Nebraska, 4.9%; Vermont, 6.2%; and New Hampshire, 6.4%.

What's interesting about Nevada's employment ills is where they're concentrated: construction.

Nevada construction employment is down more than 57% from its peak in 2006 as an enormous real-estate bubble blew up in the subprime mortgage massacre. Nevada's foreclosure rate is the nation's highest as well.

Construction provided 6.5% of Nevada jobs in 1992. In 2006, when construction peaked, that percentage had jumped to 11.2%.

And that's the big theme about this recession. The real-estate collapse in states like Nevada, California, Arizona and Florida has gutted construction jobs.

Total employment in the United States is down 4.7% from its December 2007 peak, notes Philippa Dunne of the Liscio Report. Construction employment is down 28% since peaking in 2006 -- when housing starts hit their peak.

It's true that Michigan and Great Lakes states have been hit hard by the ills of the auto industry.

But that's part of a different trend, the overall decline in U.S. manufacturing employment, which is down 40% since 1979, thanks in part to the decline in auto manufacturing and a massive shift of moving jobs outside the United States to low-cost foreign markets.

Unemployment rates by state
State

Rate %

State

Rate %
Nevada

14.0

Delaware

8.8
Michigan

13.6

New Mexico

8.4
California

12.4

Alaska

8.3
Rhode Island

12.3

New York

8.3
Florida

11.7

Texas

8.3
Mississippi

11.4

Wisconsin

8.2
South Carolina

11.0

Colorado

8.0
Alabama

10.8

Maine

8.0
Illinois

10.8

Arkansas

7.7
Ohio

10.7

Utah

7.3
Oregon

10.6

Maryland

7.2
District of Columbia

10.4

Montana

7.2
Kentucky

10.4

Virginia

7.1
Tennessee

10.4

Minnesota

7.0
North Carolina

10.3

Wyoming

7.0
Georgia

10.2

Louisiana

6.9
Indiana

10.0

Iowa

6.8
New Jersey

9.7

Oklahoma

6.7
Arizona

9.6

Hawaii

6.6
Missouri

9.3

Kansas

6.5
Massachusetts

9.2

New Hampshire

6.4
Pennsylvania

9.1

Vermont

6.2
Washington

9.1

Nebraska

4.9
Idaho

9.0

South Dakota

4.6
Connecticut

8.9

North Dakota

3.6
West Virginia

8.9





Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
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