Payroll Gain in U.S. Is Widespread as Hiring Rises in 38 States

Payrolls rose in 38 states in October and the unemployment rate declined in 34, showing the healing in the labor market is widespread.

California led the country with a 41,500 increase in new hires. Texas added 35,200 jobs and Florida added 34,400, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington.

Steady job gains and a decline in the unemployment rate to a more than six-year low show demand in the world’s largest economy has been insulated from slower growth overseas. Further labor-market progress may be needed before employers boost paychecks, giving a cushion to the consumer spending that accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.

“You’re starting to see those job gains pretty broad-based,” said Stan Shipley, an economist at Evercore ISI in New York. “The question in the labor market is how low does the unemployment rate have to fall before enough slack has been taken out and you get some wage gains.”

While the bigger states dominated the rankings in terms of total payroll increases last month, smaller states in the West showed larger advances in percentage terms. Those included Wyoming, where employment climbed 1.4 percent, and Idaho, with a 0.8 percent rise.

Nevada, New York and New Jersey showed the biggest decreases in payrolls last month. Montana and Nevada topped the list in percentage terms.

Less Joblessness

Unemployment dropped by the most in Kentucky, falling 0.5 percentage point to 6.2 percent in October, the lowest since May 2008. The rate declined by 0.4 percentage point in Colorado, Idaho, Missouri and North Carolina.

Washington was the only state where joblessness rose by a statistically significant margin, the report said.

Georgia had the highest unemployment rate in the country, at 7.7 percent in October. North Dakota remained the lowest at 2.8 percent.

State and local employment data are derived independently from the national statistics, which are typically released on the first Friday of every month. The state figures are subject to larger sampling errors because they come from smaller surveys, thus making the national figures more reliable, according to the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Today’s data on state jobs follows a report earlier this month that showed U.S. employers added 214,000 workers to payrolls in October after a 256,000 gain the prior month. The jobless rate declined to 5.8 percent, its lowest since July 2008.

Fed Policy

Federal Reserve officials have cited labor market progress as they remove unprecedented accommodation meant to stimulate the economy. The central bankers last month ended a monthly asset purchase program that ballooned the balance sheet to almost $4.5 trillion, while keeping interest rates near zero.

“Although the rate of gross private-sector hiring declined, the rate of job openings moved up, measures of firms’ hiring plans increased, initial claims for unemployment insurance remained low, and some measures of household expectations for labor market conditions improved,” according to minutes of the Oct. 28-29 Federal Open Market Committee meeting released earlier this week.

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