New England unemployment rate still below US for July

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New England unemployment rate still below US for July

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 1:11pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The region continues to hold a lower unemployment rate than the US average, but the rest of the country has closed the gap, after a long-slog recovery following the Great Recession of 2008-2009. The New England unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent in July, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Deborah A Brown noted that New England’s jobless rate was essentially unchanged from a year ago when it was 4.0 percent. The national jobless rate was little changed from June at 4.4 percent and was 0.6 percentage point lower than in July 2016.

New England, and Vermont, has tracked lower than the US since the recession and was much lower last winter, but the region has seen total unemployment rise slightly over the first half of the year.

New England is one of nine geographic divisions nationwide. Among the nine divisions, the Middle Atlantic and the Pacific had the highest jobless rates in July, at 4.6 percent each. The West North Central division had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.4 percent. Unemployment rates in all divisions except for New England were down significantly over the year. The largest over-the-year declines were in the East North Central (-0.9 percentage point) and the East South Central and the Pacific (-0.8 point each).

In July, three New England states had jobless rates that were significantly different from that of the nation. Maine (3.7 percent), Vermont (3.1 percent) and New Hampshire (2.8 percent) had significantly lower unemployment rates and were among 18 states in the country to do so. The remaining New England states were among the 23 states that had unemployment rates not appreciably different from that of the nation. Nine states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rates measurably higher than the national average.

Chart 1. Unemployment rates for the United States and New England, July 2014 to July 2017, seasonally adjusted

Over the month, Maine (+0.2 percentage point) was the only New England state that had a significant over-the-year jobless rate change. Alaska (+0.2 percentage point) and South Dakota (+0.1 point) also had significant over-the-month rate increases. Texas had the only notable rate decrease (-0.3 percentage point). The remaining New England states were among the 46 states and the District of Columbia that had unemployment rates that were not measurably different from those of a month earlier, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes.

Over the year, Rhode Island was the only New England state with a statistically significant unemployment rate change. Rhode Island (-1.1 percentage points) was among the 27 states with unemployment rate decreases from July 2016. The remaining New England states were among the 23 states and the District of Columbia that had jobless rates not appreciably different from those of a year earlier.

Technical Note

This release presents civilian labor force and unemployment data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program. Estimates for the U.S. are obtained directly from the CPS, which is a sample survey of approximately 60,000 households nationwide that is conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by the Census Bureau. The LAUS program produces data for subnational areas, including the nine geographic divisions (New England, Middle Atlantic, South Atlantic, East South Central, West South Central, East North Central, West North Central, Mountain, and Pacific) and the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The LAUS data for geographic divisions and states are model-based. The models for geographic divisions use inputs from the CPS only, while the models for the states and the District of Columbia use inputs from the CPS in conjunction with estimates of nonfarm payroll employment from the Current Employment Statistics survey and counts of unemployment insurance claimants from the state workforce agencies. Each month, not-seasonally-adjusted estimates for geographic divisions are controlled to the national totals from the CPS, and state estimates are then controlled to the estimates for their divisions. Data for all states and the District of Columbia, are available in the State Employment and Unemployment release issued monthly by BLS, while national statistics are highlighted in the Employment Situation

Labor force and unemployment data for prior years reflect adjustments made at the end of each year. The adjusted estimates reflect updated population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, any revisions in the other data sources, and model re-estimation. In most years, historical data for the most recent five years (both seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted) are revised near the beginning of each calendar year, prior to or coincident with the release of January estimates.

Model-based error measures for seasonally adjusted data and for over-the-month and over-the-year changes are available online at BLS uses a 90-percent confidence level in determining whether changes in LAUS unemployment rates are statistically significant. The average magnitude of the current year over-the-month change in a state unemployment rate that is required for statistical significance at the 90-percent confidence level is just over 0.2 percentage point; the average amount of the current over-the-year change in a state rate for significance is about 0.9 point. More details can be found on the website. Measures of nonsampling error are not available.

The State Employment and Unemployment news release for August 2017 is scheduled to be released on Friday, September 15, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).