Bloomberg News

Payrolls Declined in 25 U.S. States, Led by North Carolina

October 21, 2011

(Updates to add table at end.)

Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Payrolls fell in 25 U.S. states in September, led by North Carolina and Ohio, a sign the weakness in the job market is broad-based.

Employers cut staff by 22,200 in North Carolina last month and by 21,600 in Ohio, according to Labor Department data issued today in Washington. The report also showed the jobless rate decreased in 25 states. Nevada continued to lead the nation in unemployment with a rate of 13.4 percent.

The economy needs to generate faster sustained job growth to lower unemployment and spur the consumer spending that makes up about 70 percent of the economy. A Labor Department report on Oct. 7 showed employers added 103,000 payrolls last month, almost half of them telecommunications workers returning from a strike, and the jobless rate was 9.1 percent for a third month.

“The majority of states will likely continue to grapple with a high unemployment for the foreseeable future as economic activity stagnates,” Anika Khan, an economist at Wells Fargo Securities Inc. in Charlotte, North Carolina, said before the report. “A genuine recovery will not likely begin until employment and income growth stabilize.”

After Nevada, the jobless rate was highest in California at 11.9 percent and Michigan at 11.1 percent.

The biggest job gains last month occurred in Florida, where employers boosted payrolls by 23,300. Employment in Texas rose by 15,400 workers and increased in Louisiana by 14,100.

Over the past 12 months, 47 states gained jobs, while two, Delaware and Georgia, showed a decline.

Elevated Unemployment

Unemployment has exceeded 8 percent since February 2009, the longest stretch of such elevated joblessness since monthly records began in 1948. Through September, the economy had recovered about 2.09 million of the 8.75 million jobs lost as a result of the 18-month recession that ended in June 2009.

Payrolls grew an average 96,000 a month in the July-to- September period, about the same as in the second quarter and down from 166,000 in the first three months of the year.

Sustained increases of around 200,000 a month are needed to bring unemployment down about a percentage point over a year, according to Eric Green, chief market economist at TD Securities Inc. in New York.

Political infighting over the budget and mounting fear of a default in Europe caused the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to plummet 16 percent from July 22 to Aug. 22, prompting companies and consumers to cut back. The Federal Reserve last month announced more unconventional measures to boost growth while President Barack Obama is campaigning to get Congress to approve elements of a new jobs proposal the Senate shelved last week.

Cutting Payrolls

Businesses slashing staff include Bank of America Corp. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender is cutting 30,000 jobs, including at its unit servicing mortgages.

Some companies will see more hiring. Ford Motor Co.’s U.S. hourly workers this week voted 63 percent in favor of a four- year contract that creates 12,000 new jobs and gives each as much as $10,000 in payments this year, according to the United Auto Workers.

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, making the national figures more reliable, according to the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

--Editors: Carlos Torres, Vince Golle

Company news: BAC US <Equity> CN F US <Index> CN

To contact the reporters on this story: Bob Willis in Washington at bwillis@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net


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