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August 30, 2011

New England Unemployment Rate Jumps To 7.9 Percent in July

Keith Hall, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Keith Hall, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics
The New England unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9% in July, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Regional Commissioner Denis M. McSweeney noted that the over-the-year change in New England’s unemployment rate was not statistically significant. The national jobless rate was little changed at 9.1%, but was 0.4 percentage point lower than a year earlier.

Pacific Division Reported Highest Rate

New England is one of nine geographic divisions nationwide. Among the nine divisions, the Pacific continued to report the highest unemployment rate, 11.2% in July. The West North Central again registered the lowest rate, 6.8%. Over the month, two divisions experienced statistically significant unemployment rate changes: the East North Central (+0.3 percentage point) and Pacific (+0.2 point). Over the year, the East North Central recorded the only significant rate change among divisions (-1.0 percentage point).

Five New England States Have Significantly Lower Rates than Rest of Nation

In July, five of the six New England states posted jobless rates that were significantly different from that of the United States. New Hampshire (5.2%), Vermont (5.7%), Massachusetts (7.6%), and Maine (7.7%) recorded lower-than-average unemployment rates and were among 25 states in the country to do so. In fact, New Hampshire reported the fourth-lowest jobless rate nationwide. In contrast, Rhode Island (10.8%) had the highest jobless rate among the New England states and the fifth-highest jobless rate in the nation. Rhode Island was among eight states and the District of Columbia that had unemployment rates significantly higher than the national average. Connecticut was among the 17 remaining states in recording unemployment rates not appreciably different from that for the nation.

New Hampshire Has Significant Rate Increase in July

In July, New Hampshire was the only New England state and one of 10 states nationwide to report a statistically significant unemployment rate change from June (+0.3 percentage point). The District of Columbia also experienced a significant over-the-month rate increase (+0.4 percentage point). The remaining five New England states were among the 40 states that registered jobless rates that were not measurably different from those of a month earlier, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes.

Most States Have Minimal Change over the Last Year

Over the year, 11 states recorded statistically significant unemployment rate changes, all decreases. The six New England states were among the 39 states and the District of Columbia that registered jobless rates not appreciably different from those of a year earlier.

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