Jobless rate down in most U.S. states in September

WASHINGTON, Oct 22 (BestGrowthStock) – Unemployment rates dropped
in September in most U.S. states, the Labor Department said on
Friday ahead of early November elections where jobs are
expected to be a key focus for voters selecting governors,
state legislators and federal lawmakers.

The unemployment rate dropped from the prior month in 23
states and the District of Columbia, and was lower than a year
earlier in 29 states and the nation’s capital.

Still, the number of workers dropped in a significant
number of states. Nonfarm payroll employment decreased in 34
states, with the largest decline — 63,500 jobs — in
California. New York followed, shedding 37,600 jobs last month.
For a table of jobless rates see [ID:nN22112585].

In contrast, only 16 states gained jobs. The District of
Columbia, a city without a state, had the largest increase at
16,500 positions.

Over the year, employment increased in 32 states and
decreased in 18, the Labor Department said.

Nevada again had the highest unemployment rate, unchanged
from August at 14.4 percent, while Michigan followed with 13
percent and California took third place at 12.4 percent.

North Dakota again had the lowest rate at 3.7 percent,
followed by neighbors South Dakota, at 4.4 percent, and
Nebraska, at 3.7 percent.

Worries about employment are expected to weigh on voters
heading into polling on Nov. 2.

The national unemployment rate has held above 9 percent for
17 straight months and the official end last summer of the
longest recession since World War Two has not convinced
Americans that the labor market will recover any time soon.

Governorships are at stake in 37 states, and an analyst at
Cook Political Report is forecasting that Republicans will
control more than 30 of those offices after the election. For a
related story see [ID:nN21281885]. Currently 23 states have
Republican governors, not counting Florida Governor Charlie
Crist who, although elected as a Republican, recently announced
an independent bid for the U.S. Senate.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, is in a
rematch against the governor he replaced four years ago,
Republican Bob Ehrlich.

O’Malley touted the Labor Department report as good news
for the mid-Atlantic state’s economy even though its jobless
rate jumped to 7.5 percent in September from 7.3 in August.
That was still well below the national rate of 9.6 percent.

“As the nation loses jobs, Maryland continues to add them,”
O’Malley said, pointing to an increase last month of 4,800.

The rhetoric about the economy is strongest in California,
where the unemployment rate for the world’s eighth-largest
economy is near the 12.4 percent historical high it reached in
March and the jobless rate has been above 10 percent for 20
consecutive months.

Meg Whitman, Republican candidate for governor of the most
populous state in the nation, has suggested improving job
prospects through tax changes. She wants to cut small business,
factory and capital gains taxes while boosting research and
development tax credits.

The Democratic contender, California’s former governor and
current Attorney General Jerry Brown, would like to expand
jobs in the clean energy sector and create tax incentives to
boost manufacturing.

For a related story on how the fight for the Golden State’s
governor’s mansion is shaping up, please see [ID:nN20235081].
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Jobless rate down in most U.S. states in September