Payrolls rose in 39 states in September and the unemployment rate fell in 31, a sign the improvement in the labor market is broad-based. Texas led the nation with a 36,400 increase in employment, followed by Illinois with 19,300 more jobs, as reported by the Labor Department.
Momentum in the labor market continues to improve, underpinning demand for its goods and workers. Further job gains will be needed for wage growth to accelerate from a near stagnant pace and provide a lift to consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy.
Colorado was among other states showing gains in employment. States showing declines included California, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The unemployment rate dropped the most in Colorado and Kentucky, which showed decreases of 0.4 percent. Vermont and Massachusetts were the only states seeing statistically significant increases in joblessness.
Georgia had the highest jobless rate in the country at 7.9 percent in September. North Dakota had 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.