Following the release of discouraging overall unemployment data for August 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has released a state breakdown of August 2009 unemployment that shows jobless rates have increased since August 2008 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
On a monthly basis, unemployment rates have grown in 27 states and the District of Columbia and remained flat in 16 others.
Fourteen states and the District of Columbia reported jobless rates of at least 10% in August. Michigan, at 15.2%, continued to have the highest unemployment rate among the states. Nevada recorded the next highest rate, 13.2%, followed by Rhode Island, 12.8%, and California and Oregon, 12.2% each.
The rates in California, Nevada, and Rhode Island set new series highs, reports Retailer Daily.
In August 2009, Michigan reported the largest unemployment rate increase over the year, 6.6 percentage points. Three other states had rate changes of more than 5 percentage points: Nevada, 6.2 points, Oregon, 5.7 points, and Alabama, 5.2 points.
All states and the Washington, DC recorded statistically significant increases in their jobless rates from August 2008, with the smallest increase occurring in North Dakota, where the rate increased by 1 percentage point.
Retailer Daily also reports that recent store openings by several retailers have some relation to state unemployment trends as retailers attempt to capitalize on government incentives and available labor pools. Discount retailers Wal-Mart and Meijer are both targeting the distressed state of Michigan with new store openings and expansions this year and next. In addition to offering unemployed consumers who are more likely to want or need to shop at discount retailers, Michigan is also offering tax incentives to food retailers (Wal-Mart and Meijer both offer food products) who open or expand stores in “underserved” parts of the state, where 59% of Michigan’s population resides.
About the data:? Though state unemployment rates track people actively looking for work, they leave out a statistically significant number of people who have given up looking for work or have not looked for work in the previous four weeks.