31 States Actually Added Jobs in July

Payrolls climbed in 31 states in July, according to a Labor Department report released Friday, with New York and Texas leading the way, adding 29,400 and 29,300 workers respectively last month. However, the unemployment rate still increased in 28 states, some of which saw total payrolls increase last month.

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The unemployment rates in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and South Carolina increased by 0.4% in July, with Nevada continuing to lead the nation in unemployment with a rate of 12.9%, almost 4% above the national average, which dropped to 9.1% last month after the Labor Department reported that the economy had added 117,000 jobs.

California has the second-highest jobless rate, with 12% of its population unemployed, followed by South Carolina and Michigan, both with an unemployment rate of 10.9%. Michigan and Tennessee round out the top four states showing the biggest payroll gains, adding 23,000 and 14,3000 jobs, respectively. Illinois and Florida are the two states that lost the most jobs last month, cutting 24,900 and 22,100.

In the last year, six states have recorded a net loss in jobs, including Indiana, Nevada, Kansas, Alabama, Georgia, and Delaware. Unemployment in North Dakota, which has the nation’s lowest jobless rate, increased from 3.2% to 3.3% in July.

While some are focusing on the fact that the overall labor market improved on a month-to-month basis in July, it’s still weaker than it was earlier in the year. Between May and July, employers added 216,000 workers, while 646,000 jobs were created in the previous three-month period. Furthermore, July’s figures don’t take into account “the market turmoil in the last couple of weeks that really could have prompted some businesses to postpone or cancel any hiring plans,” says Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in Toronto.

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The Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement on August 9 that “indicators suggest a deterioration in overall labor market conditions in recent months.” The committee expects that “the unemployment rate will decline only gradually.” When the Federal Reserve announced last week that it would keep the benchmark interest rate at a record low through mid-2013, it cited “considerably slower” growth than expected.

Friday’s news that Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) plans to cut at least 3,500 jobs by the end of the current quarter is evidence of that trend. And last week, initial jobless claims rose from an upwardly revised 399,000 from the previous week to 408,000, which means August could potentially forfeit July’s gains.