July 20, 2012
Career center specialist Sun Gaddis, left, helps job seeker Kaston Joshua, while Rudy Martin looks on at WorkSource Oregon in Tualatin, Ore. July 17, 2012
WASHINGTON – Unemployment rates rose in 27 states last month, the most in almost a year.
The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates fell in 11 states and Washington, D.C. — the fewest declines since August. Rates were unchanged in 12 states.
Nationwide, employers added only 80,000 jobs last month, third straight month of weak job growth. The national unemployment rate stayed at 8.2%.
Still, 29 states added jobs in June, up from 27 in May. Unemployment rates can rise when jobs are created because more people who are out of work start looking for jobs. That increases the size of the labor force. The number of Americans searching for jobs nationwide increased last month.
Nevada recorded the highest unemployment rate, at 11.6%, same as the previous month. It was followed by Rhode Island at 10.9% and California at 10.7%
North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.9%, followed by Nebraska at 3.8%.
Several states reported big increases in unemployment. Rates rose 0.4 percentage points in Alabama and New Jersey, to 7.8% and 9.6%, respectively.
Some states kept hiring at a healthy pace in June. California added 38,300 jobs and Ohio added 18,400, after similar gains in both states in May. And North Carolina rebounded after losing jobs in May, adding 16,900 jobs last month.
Still others lost jobs. Wisconsin shed 13,200, the most of any state. It was followed by Tennessee, where employers cut 12,100 jobs.
The economy is struggling to generate enough growth to boost hiring and consumer spending from subpar levels.
Job growth slowed to 75,000 a month April through June, down from healthy 226,000 pace in the first three months of the year.
On Wednesday, a survey by the nation's 12 Federal Reserve banks said hiring was "tepid" in most of its districts in June and early July. And manufacturing weakened in most regions.
Retail sales fell in June for the third straight month, the government said this week. That led many economists to downgrade their estimates for growth in the April-June quarter. Many think it will be even slower than the first quarter's scant 1.9% annual pace.