Payrolls increased in 32 U.S. states in July, and the unemployment rate climbed in 28, indicating progress in the labor market remains uneven.
California led the nation with a 38,100 gain in payrolls, followed by Georgia with 30,900 more jobs, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington.
Economic growth is projected to accelerate in the final six months of 2013 as the effects of federal budget cuts and higher taxes fade and job- and home-price gains spread across wider swathes of the U.S. Faster hiring would help spur consumer spending, which accounts for about 70% of the economy.
“There’s demand for workers,” Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh, said before the report. “We’ll see some pickup in the economy as the fiscal drag fades in the second half.”
Nationwide figures released on Aug. 2 showed the economy added 162,000 workers in July after 188,000 the prior month. The jobless rate dropped to 7.4% from 7.6%.
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.
The differences can be seen in the unemployment figures, with the state data showing the national average rising to 7.5% last month from 7.4% in June. Additionally, states with some of the biggest gains in payrolls also showed an increase in joblessness.
The unemployment rate in California climbed to 8.7% in July from 8.5% the prior month, while Georgia’s shot up to 8.8% from 8.5% in June. Other states showing statistically significant increases in their jobless rates included Alaska, Iowa, Nebraska, Vermont and Virginia. Mississippi was the only state showing a significant drop, with the rate falling to 8.5% from 9%.
Nevada remained the state with the highest level of unemployment at 9.5%, followed by Illinois at 9.2%. North Dakota had the lowest at 3%.
Other states showing gains in payrolls included Florida, with an increase of 27,600, and Michigan, which showed an advance of 21,400.
Payrolls declined by 7,300 in New York and by 11,800 in New Jersey. Nonetheless, New Jersey’s jobless rate fell to 8.6% from 8.7%.
Sequestration, or the automatic across-the-board federal budget cuts that started taking effect in March, may have played a role in last month’s job count. Maryland lost 9,200 jobs from payrolls and the District of Columbia saw a 1,600 reduction. The jobless rate increased in both regions. Payrolls in Virginia climbed for the first time in three months, rising by 1,400. At the same time, its jobless rate increased to 5.7% from 5.5% in June.