New York Leads November Gains in Payrolls

As the jobless rate declined in 43 states last month, payrolls increased in 29 as the labor market slowly begins to recover across much of the U.S.

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New york led the nation’s gains with 29,500 new jobs, followed by Texas with 20,800, while the biggest drop in unemployment was in Michigan, where the jobless rate fell 0.8 percentage points to 9.8 percent, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. The jobless rate in Michigan is down 1.6 percent over the past 12 months, which may in part reflect a rebound in production at the nation’s big three automakers — Ford (NYSE:F), General Motors (NYSE:GM), and Chrysler — which are all located in the Detroit area.

In fact, as part of labor negotiations, Ford agreed to create 12,000 jobs, invest $6.2 billion in factory upgrades, and give each of its 40,600 U.S. workers as much as $10,000 in bonus and profit-sharing payments this year. Since Henry Ford first introduced the world to large-scale auto manufacturing in the early 20th century, Michigan’s fortunes have been intimately linked with those of the auto industry.

The unemployment rates in Alabama, Minnesota, South Carolina, and Utah each dropped by 0.6 percent last month, putting them in a four-way tie for second place behind Michigan in terms of their overall decline. Nevada’s jobless rate fell from 13.4 percent to 13 percent, leaving the silver state with the highest unemployment level in the U.S., followed by California at 11.3 percent. North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.4 percent.

The biggest payroll losses last month were in Wisconsin and Minnesota, where employment dropped by 14,600 and 13,700 jobs, respectively. Still, U.S. employers added 120,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell 8.6 percent, to its lower level since March 2009.

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