Since early 2020, the pandemic’s economic toll has been starkly reflected in national and state employment data. At the height of economic restrictions, more than 23 million Americans were out of work and millions more saw their hours reduced or benefits scaled back. Today, the labor market continues an unprecedented realignment as Americans quit their jobs at record rates and national employment growth continues to underperform expectations.
However, national trends often obscure important state-level differences. For example, we have previously shown how some states are recovering faster than others. Varying degrees of reopening and other local conditions affect how quickly unemployment rates dropped and the rate at which payrolls resumed their growth. With today’s release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) state-level employment data, only Arizona, Texas, Utah and Idaho have returned to or exceeded their pre-pandemic payrolls and 17 states have returned to pre-pandemic unemployment rates.
To help track state-level changes, Joint Economic Committee Republicans generate monthly summary reports for every state, based on BLS data. Each state report compiles survey data on payroll jobs and payroll changes by sector, as well as household survey data that includes the unemployment rate, the labor force participation rate, and the employment-to-population ratio.
In addition to the regular reporting of today’s numbers, we have added a preamble to highlight the range of state employment data across the country. This supplementary information provides context for each individual state labor market by reporting the highest and lowest state unemployment rates, as well as the largest percent changes in payroll jobs over the prior month.[i]
Additionally, many of the charts are now interactive, so that the values of individual data points are accessible when a user hovers the mouse over a particular line or bar in the report’s charts.
As the pandemic’s economic effects continue to recede, state level employment data can provide policymakers important information about the health of local economies in the months and years to come. The next release of state-level employment data for December is scheduled for January 25th, 2022 at 10am.
To access state reports, simply navigate to “State Data” on the green ribbon at the top of the page, or click here. From there, select a state on the map or list. At the top of the state’s landing page, the state employment report is linked beneath the state name banner, and titled with the current month of data; for example, see Utah’s “November Employment Update.” To receive email updates when new reports are generated, please email Sydney Thomas at Sydney_Thomas@jec.senate.gov.
[i] These topline numbers may differ from the BLS report since BLS counts only changes considered statistically significant.