Regional unemployment rates stubbornly high in January
The combined unemployment rate for the states of the Sixth District remained high at 10.5 percent in January for the third month in a row. (This rate is calculated by dividing the sum of unemployed in the six states of the region by the sum of the six respective labor forces.) Nationwide, 24 states posted unemployment rate decreases. Within the district, the unemployment rate decreased in two states (Florida and Mississippi), increased in three states (Alabama, Louisiana, and Tennessee), and was unchanged in one (Georgia).
Most states in the region's labor markets are underperforming compared with the national average. Weakness is concentrated in Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi, where the unemployment rate is above the national rate. Alabama and Tennessee have unemployment rates only slightly above the national rate of 9 percent. Meanwhile, Louisiana remained below the national rate (see the chart below).
How do the Sixth District states' labor markets compare with other states? Well, they rank among the highest in terms of other states' unemployment rates, although not the worst (see the map below).
Although January was not a bright month for the labor market in the district, we saw improvement in the national labor market from January to February, as mentioned in this macroblog post. The February release of state employment statistics will be the morning of Friday, March 25. Hopefully, the Sixth District will also see improvement.
By Sandra Kollen, a senior economic analyst in the Atlanta Fed's research department
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