Though the unemployment rates in most states changed little last month vs. February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers this additional data that signals there's been at least some improvement in the labor market over the longer term:
According to BLS, from March 2010 through March 2011, "nonfarm employment increased in 47 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 3 states. The largest over-the-year percentage increase occurred in North Dakota (+4.2 percent), followed by Vermont (+2.8 percent) and Alaska and Texas (+2.4 percent each). The largest over-the-year percentage decrease in employment occurred in Kansas (-0.5 percent), followed by New Jersey and New Mexico (less than -0.1 percent each)."
As for the jobless rates, "Nevada continued to register the highest unemployment rate among the states, 13.2 percent in March. The states with the next highest rates were California, 12.0 percent, Florida, 11.1 percent, and Rhode Island, 11.0 percent. North Dakota reported the lowest jobless rate, 3.6 percent, followed by Nebraska and South Dakota, 4.2 and 4.9 percent, respectively." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.