Nine states and the District of Columbia had jobless rates measurably higher than the national 6.7 percent unemployment rate in December.Rhode Island leads the country with the highest unemployment rate, at 9.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.
Following Rhode Island are: Nevada at 8.8 percent, Illinois 8.6 percent, Michigan 8.4 percent, California 8.3 percent, District of Columbia 8.1percent, Kentucky and Mississippi both at 8 percent, Georgia 7.4 percent and Tennessee 7.8 percent.
North Dakota continued to have the lowest jobless rate, at 2.6 percent, BLS said.
Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia saw their unemployment rates decline in December. Of those, the decreases in 21 states and the District of Columbia were “statistically significant,” meaning the decline was more than minor or just random chance.
In terms of number of jobs, Florida was second only to Texas in creating the most jobs in December, adding more than 14,100 to Texas’s 17,600. California, which still has a higher unemployment rate than the national average, came in third, adding 13,600 jobs.
As Stateline reported, even recession-battered states such as Florida are expected to generate jobs at a healthier clip in 2014.
New Jersey lost 36,300 jobs, the most of any state during December, followed by Pennsylvania, which lost 11,400 and Kansas dropped 7,400, BLS reported.
Four other states showed strong job growth from December to January, BLS said: North Carolina (+11,100), Massachusetts (+10,300), Minnesota (+9,500), and Hawaii (+3,300).
Over the last year, Texas added the most jobs, with 252,400, followed by California with 235,700 and Florida with 192,900.