Rise in U.S. joblessness broad-based as 44 states show gain

Aug. 17 (Bloomberg) -- The jobless rate climbed in 44 U.S. states in July, showing last month’s increase in unemployment was broad based.

Alabama and Alaska registered the worst performance, with joblessness advancing by 0.5 percentage point in each, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. Payrolls grew in 31 states last month, led by California and Michigan.

Across the nation, the unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent in July, a five-month high, even as employment increased by the most since February. Faster hiring is needed to spur consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, and to help reduce elevated joblessness that remains a concern for Federal Reserve policy makers.

Payrolls gains are “probably not enough to make really significant sort of progress on improving unemployment rates,” Jeremy Lawson, senior U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York, said before the report. “Firms are waiting on more clarity as to what general direction things are headed.”

Unemployment jumped to 8.3 percent in Alabama from 7.8 percent in June, and climbed to 7.7 percent in Alaska from 7.2 percent, today’s report showed. Nevada, where the rate rose to 12 percent from 11.6 percent, remained the state with the highest level of joblessness in the country.

Rhode Island, at 10.8 percent, was second, followed by California at 10.7 percent.

U.S. Low

North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, even as it rose to 3 percent from 2.9 percent the prior month.

Two states, Idaho and Rhode Island, showed a drop in their unemployment rates. Joblessness was unchanged in four states.

New Jersey’s jobless rate jumped to a 35-year high of 9.8 percent in July from 9.6 percent in June. The state lost 12,000 positions, including cuts in manufacturing, construction, and professional and business services, according to figures released by New Jersey officials yesterday.

Unemployment in New York rose to 9.1 percent, the highest since 1983, and payrolls dropped by 3,700 workers.

The figures reflect the cutbacks at financial firms, which are trimming jobs as revenue softens. Morgan Stanley has said its headcount will drop by about 700 in the second half, bringing total 2012 reductions to 4,000. Credit Suisse Group AG planned to eliminate 138 positions in New York starting this month. Deutsche Bank AG will cut about 1,900 jobs by year-end, mostly outside Germany.

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