According to U.S. Labor Department data, payrolls increased in 30 states in December as the rate of unemployment fell in 39, indicating widespread improvement of the job market. Texas topped the nation in payroll gains adding 17,600 followed by Florida at 14,100. The largest fall in unemployment occurred in Louisiana for December and in North Carolina for the year. The national labor market has improved so much that the Federal Reserve lowered its monthly bond buying from $85 billion to $75 billion in January.
“We’re seeing job growth across the country and it’s more even growth,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West in San Francisco. “The gains will continue in 2014.”
Employers added a revised 74,000 workers in November as the unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent. Though much of this drop came as a result of more people leaving the labor force. Louisiana, with the highest decline in unemployment in the nation during December, saw its unemployment rate decline by 0.6 percent while the unemployment rate in North Carolina was 2.5 percent points lower than in December 2012. Rhode Island has the highest jobless rate in the country at 9.1 followed by Nevada at 8.8 percent. North Dakota remains the state with the lowest unemployment rate at 2.6 percent.