Unemployment fell in February in 22 states

WASHINGTON — Unemployment rates fell in 22 U.S. states in February from January, a sign that hiring gains are benefiting many parts of the country.

The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates rose in 12 states and were unchanged in 16.

Nationally, the unemployment rate slid to a four-year low of 7.7 percent in February, down from 7.9 percent in January. Since November, employers across the country have added an average of 200,000 jobs a month, nearly double the average from last spring.

States hit hardest during the recession are showing improvement.

In Nevada, unemployment dropped to 9.6 percent last month, down from 11.8 percent a year ago. That’s the biggest year-over-year decrease among states.

One reason for the big drop is that people have stopped applying for jobs. Nevada’s work force — those working or looking for work — fell nearly 1 percent in the year through February.

Only those looking for work are counted as unemployed. But hiring accelerated, too: Jobs in Nevada rose 2 percent over the past year.

Unemployment in California fell to 9.6 percent last month, down from 10.8 percent in February 2012.

California and Nevada are still tied with Mississippi for the nation’s highest unemployment rate.

Florida’s job market has also rebounded in the past year. The Sunshine State’s unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in February, down from 9 percent a year earlier.

North Dakota once again held the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, at 3.3 percent. The state is benefiting from a boom in oil and natural gas production. Nebraska had the second-lowest rate, at 3.8 percent.

Overall, 42 states added jobs in February from January, and just eight lost jobs. The biggest monthly job gains came in Texas (up nearly 81,000) and California (up more than 41,000).

More in Herald Business Journal

Health-care consumers need to take the lead, so get smart

David Russian, CEO of Western Washington Medical Group, writes our third essay about fixing health care.

More business, more competition for Everett kidney dialysis center

Nonprofit Puget Sound Kidney Centers sees large for-profit competitors enter state market.

Molina Medical holds fall carnival for families in Everett

Molina Medical is hosting a free event for families in the Everett… Continue reading

Leadership Snohomish County celebrates 20 years of service

Leadership Snohomish County is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The organization was launched… Continue reading

Snohomish, Monroe manufacturers honored for innovation, excellence

Two Snohomish County companies have been honored with Manufacturing Excellence awards at… Continue reading

Remodeled home tours planned this weekend

This weekend, Edmonds-based Chermak Construction will participate in the 2017 Remodeled Homes… Continue reading

Barron Heating to celebrate anniversary at Marysville showroom

Barron Heating and Air Conditioning is celebrating its 45th anniversary from 10… Continue reading

Robots on Wall Street: Slow-footed regulators lose ground

Watchdogs have to figure out how to check computers running lightening-fast algorithms.

US budget deficit hits $666B, an $80B spike for the year

The deficit issue has largely fallen in prominence in Washington in recent years.

Most Read