WASHINGTON, April 18 (UPI) -- Unemployment rates fell in 21 states and payrolls climbed in 34 states in March, showing a strengthening of the labor market after a slow start to the year.
Joblessness was significantly lower than the U.S. unemployment rate of 6.7 percent in 24 states, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment rates in 12 states and the District of Columbia saw no change from their February mark.
Florida led the nation with 22,900 new jobs, followed by North Carolina with 19,400.
Such increases in hiring should improve consumer confidence and spur personal and household spending.
“We’re seeing broad-based employment gains from coast to coast,” said Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “The job market is healing, though not as quickly as we’d like.”
Ohio registered the largest drop in joblessness, dropping from 6.5 percent in February to 6.1 percent, the lowest it has been since April 2008. Rhode Island, despite lowering its unemployment rate, the state continued to have the highest unemployment rate in country at 8.7 percent. Nevada was second, with a rate of 8.5 percent, followed by Illinois at 8.4 percent.
North Dakota, which has seen a boom on account of the oil and gas industry, had the lowest unemployment rate of 2.6 percent, which has been stable since January.
[Bureau of Labor Statistics] [Bloomberg Businessweek]