Unemployment rates fall to record lows in 4 US states

Katrina Soto
April 23, 2017

The Nebraska Labor Department says the state's preliminary unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point in March, hitting 3.1 percent compared with 3.2 percent in February.

Employment growth has lowered the jobless rate to pre-2008 crisis levels, supporting household spending, although a recent uptick in inflation has led to declines in real wages as consumer prices outpaced average contract wage raises in the first three months of the year.

Between February and March, the biggest gains were in local government education, up 1,300 jobs; ambulatory health care services, 1,000; and amusement, gambling and recreation, 600, according to EDD data.

The United States' jobless rate declined two-tenths of a percentage point, from 4.7 percent in February to 4.5 percent in March.

The labor force - employed and unemployed people combined - stayed about flat.

"Demographics - the aging population - is the single most significant factor in the low unemployment rate", said Lawton, since a shrinking labor force drives down the unemployment rate. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in March.

Nonfarm payroll jobs in Arkansas increased 7,500 in March to total 1,240,900.

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Maui County's 3.3% unemployment rate for March dropped to 2.9%, down slightly from the 3.1% reported in February, and the 3.2% reported at the same time previous year.

The Lawrence area unemployment rate stood at 3 percent in March, down from 3.3 percent in February and 3.4 percent a year ago. The state hit its highest unemployment rate of 6.9 percent multiple times in 2013 and 2014. That's the lowest unemployment rate for Colorado since the the state began measuring it in 1976, according to a news release.

Government jobs comprised 16.0 percent of nonfarm jobs, the lowest share on record.

During the past 12 months, March 2016 to March 2017, the state has recorded a net gain of 45,800 jobs.

In particular, private-sector employment was up 1.2 percent in New Mexico.

But in terms of actual job growth, this was the worst March since the state began its long economic recovery from the recession in 2010. The only other state with an unemployment rate above 6 percent was Alaska, the second-highest in the nation at 6.4 percent. Shelby County in metro Birmingham is lowest at 4 percent.

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