Unemployment below 6% in 25 states

WASHINGTON — Unemployment rates fell in nearly all U.S. states last month, and half the states now have rates below 6 percent. The figures are a sign of widespread, if slow, improvement in the nation’s job market.

Unemployment rates fell in 43 states in April, the Labor Department said Friday, rose in two states and were unchanged in five.

Hiring is picking up as well. Employers added jobs in 39 states, while 10 states posted job losses. Nebraska reported no change.

Twenty-five states now have unemployment rates of 5.9 percent or lower. The Federal Reserve considers “full employment” to be between 5.2 percent and 5.6 percent. Rates at that level are considered “full employment” because if they fell lower, inflation could rise. But the relationship isn’t exact. The national rate fell to 3.9 percent in late 2000 without causing a spike in prices.

Hiring wasn’t the whole reason rates fell in many states: Fewer Americans also looked for work. The government doesn’t count those out of work as unemployed unless they are actively hunting for jobs.

Many of the states with low unemployment are small. North Dakota continues to have the lowest rate nationwide at 2.6 percent. That’s the same as the previous month and down from 3 percent a year ago. Vermont’s rate of 3.3 percent is the next lowest.

But some larger states are also seeing improvement. Texas’ unemployment rate fell to 5.2 percent in April from 5.5 percent in March. Employers added 64,100 jobs last month, the most of any state.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania, the nation’s sixth-largest state by population, declined to 5.7 percent from 6 percent as the state gained nearly 11,000 jobs. Ohio, the seventh-largest, saw a similar improvement. Its rate fell to 5.7 percent from 6.1 percent, with employers creating 12,600 new jobs.

Nationally, businesses and government agencies added 288,000 new positions in April, the biggest burst of hiring in 21/2 years. The unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent from 6.7 percent.

Rhode Island reported the highest unemployment rate at 8.3 percent, followed by Nevada at 8 percent. Both states saw significant improvement, with Rhode Island’s rate falling from 8.7 percent and Nevada’s from 8.5 percent.

More in Herald Business Journal

Tulalips break ground on new Quil Ceda Creek Casino Hotel

A 150-room hotel was added to what is now a $140 million complex expected to open in spring 2019.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence about past inopportunity.

Angel of the Winds pays $3.4M for Everett arena naming rights

The casino replaces Xfinity as the lead sponsor for the publicly owned downtown Everett events center.

Teddy, an English bulldog, models Zentek Clothing’s heat regulating dog jacket. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Everett clothing company keeps your dog cool and stylish

Zentek uses space-age fabrics to moderate the temperature of pets and now humans.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Merger would make Providence part of health care behemoth

Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension Health are said to be talking. Swedish would also be affected.

Bombardier promotes its C Series airliner as American made

It says more than half its all-new jet is made in US factories with final assembly near Montreal.

Everett engineers learn lessons from Mexico City catastrophe

Structural scientists went to help after the September earthquake there and studied the damage.

Justice Department confirms criminal probe in Uber case

A former Uber executive is accused of stealing self-driving car technology from Google.

Trudeau snubs Boeing, unveils plan to buy used Aussie jets

Trudeau will be assessing the impact fighter jet contracts have on his country’s economy.

Most Read