Payrolls increased in 32 states in April, while the unemployment rate dropped in 37, indicating the labor market improved across much of the U.S.
Indiana led the nation with a 17,100 gain in payrolls, followed by Texas with 13,200 more jobs. The jobless rate dropped the most in Arizona and Oklahoma from the prior month.
The U.S. added the fewest number of workers in April, while the jobless rate unexpectedly fell to a three-year low of 8.1 percent as people left the labor force, data showed this month. The world’s largest economy needs faster hiring to spur consumer spending and to help reduce unemployment, which Federal Reserve policy makers have said remains elevated.
“There has been improvement in the labor market,” Millan Mulraine, senior U.S. strategist at TD Securities Inc. in New York, said before the report. “Employment is increasing.”
Nevada remained the state with the highest jobless rate even after it dropped to 11.7 percent, its lowest level since June 2009, from 12 percent in March. Unemployment in Rhode Island climbed to 11.2 percent from 11.1 percent, putting it in second place, followed by California at 10.9 percent.
North Dakota had the lowest unemployment in the nation, holding at 3 percent, followed by Nebraska, where it fell to 3.9 percent from 4 percent.
The jobless rate dropped to 8.2 percent in Arizona from 8.6 percent the prior month, and it decreased to 5 percent from 5.4 percent in Oklahoma.
Michigan registered the biggest decline in joblessness over the past 12 months, falling 2.2 percentage points to 8.3 percent in April.
Rising demand for cars has prompted some companies to expand their workforce. Chrysler Group LLC, the automaker controlled by Fiat SpA, is accelerating plans to increase output at a sport-utility-vehicle plant in Detroit, hiring 1,100 workers in November instead of early 2013. Dearborn, Michigan- based Ford Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. also will add shifts at U.S. factories this year.
States showing a decline in employment included Maryland, where payrolls dropped by 6,000, and Wisconsin, which showed a 5,900 decrease.
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.
Payrolls in April climbed 115,000, the smallest gain since October, while the jobless rate fell to 8.1 percent, the Labor Department said on May 4.
Businesses that are trimming include Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile USA unit, which plans to cut 900 jobs as part of a new round of cost savings as the carrier restructures. The job losses are a second set of reductions after the Bellevue, Washington-based company said on March 22 it would eliminate 1,900 jobs tied to the closing of seven call centers.
Fed officials last month affirmed their plan to hold interest rates near zero at least through late 2014 as they seek to push down a jobless rate that has topped 8 percent for more than three years. Minutes of the Fed’s April 24-25 meeting released this week showed “most” participants “anticipated a gradual decline in the unemployment rate.”
Forecasts released by the central bank in April showed it expects joblessness to fall to 7.8 percent to 8.0 percent by the final three months of this year.
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