statesUnemployment rates at both the regional and state levels were largely unchanged during February 2012. The majority of states (29) experienced over-the-month decreases while eight reported rate increases and 13 plus D.C. saw no rate change. Over-the-year, all but one state registered unemployment rate decreases over the prior 12-month period. The national unemployment rate remained steady at 8.3 percent.

Forty-two states and D.C. saw an increase in nonfarm payroll employment, the largest of which occurred in Ohio (+28,000 jobs), Texas (+27,900 jobs), and New York (+ 24,700 jobs). The largest over-the-month decreases occurred in Nevada (-12,800 jobs), Georgia (-8,300 jobs), Oregon (-6,400 jobs), and Kansas (-5,700 jobs). Over the year, nonfarm employment rose in 43 states plus D.C. and fell in seven states. The largest increase over this period occurred in North Dakota (+6.8 percent). The largest decrease for the period was recorded in Wisconsin (-0.6 percent).

The highest regional unemployment rate occurred in the West, continuing a long-standing trend. The region experienced a 9.6 percent unemployment rate in February while the lowest recorded regional rate of 7.5 percent was recorded in the Midwest. Of the nine geographic divisions, the Pacific topped the nation in jobless rate at 10.2 for the month. The West North Central division recorded the lowest rate of 5.9 percent. No division reported an increase in the jobless rate from February 2011.

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