State jobless situation little changed

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A total of 27 states reported rising unemployment rates in February, while rates decreased in seven states and the District of Columbia, according to a government report released Friday.

The Labor Department's monthly report on state unemployment also showed that jobless rates were unchanged 16 states.

In January, 30 states reported monthly jobless rate increases.

The report said 24 states posted rates that were lower than the national unemployment rate of 9.7%, while 13 states and the District of Columbia had measurably higher rates.

On an annual basis, jobless rates increased in 46 states and the District of Columbia in February. That's down from a total of 50 states in January.

"Things are not getting worse," said Cameron Findlay, chief economist at LendingTree, an online lending exchange. "I think this should be viewed as a positive sign."

Findlay said most economists expect the national jobless rate to remain above 9% for the rest of the year. But he added that there are some signs of improvement in corporate profits, which could bode well for hiring in the near term.

As in previous months, Michigan had the highest rate of unemployment at 14.1%, followed by Nevada at 13.2% and Rhode Island at 12.7%. The jobless rate in Nevada was a record high; Florida's 12.2% jobless rate was also a record.

Mississippi posted the largest jobless rate increase in February, rising 0.4 percentage point to 11.4%. Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Utah, and Virginia also reported significant jumps in unemployment rates.

North Dakota had the lowest jobless rate in the nation, at 4.1%.

The report came one week before the government releases its national jobs report for March. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com predict employers expanded payrolls by 200,000 in March after cutting 36,000 jobs in February. However, the national jobless rate is expected to remain unchanged at 9.7%.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are continuing to work on a number of bills to spur job creation through tax cuts for small businesses and other measures.

President Obama signed into law a $17.6 billion measure last week that calls for tax breaks for businesses and additional infrastructure spending with the hope of boosting employment.

In addition, a bill that would extend the deadline to file for unemployment benefits until year's end is currently making its way through Congress.

The White House announced new steps on Friday to help the unemployed and those who are "underwater" with a bigger mortgage than their home is worth. For some unemployed borrowers, the effort would require servicers to reduce or suspend monthly mortgage payments for up to six months. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,804.71 -238.19 -1.40%
Nasdaq 4,422.09 -71.30 -1.59%
S&P 500 1,946.16 -26.13 -1.32%
Treasuries 2.40 -0.10 -4.19%
Data as of 4:37pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.82 -0.21 -1.23%
Ford Motor Co 14.59 -0.18 -1.22%
Facebook Inc 76.56 -2.48 -3.14%
Apple Inc 99.18 -2.05 -2.03%
Cisco Systems Inc 25.03 -0.08 -0.34%
Data as of 4:03pm ET

Sections

Very few cars, even those that cost a lot more, can accelerate as quickly as GM's new super-perforomance Corvette Z06. More

In the last five years, pumpkin sales have risen 34% as people demand pumpkin in everything from beer to beef jerky. More

New York City launches a comprehensive site for all things related to its digital tech scene, Digital.NYC. More

New York City launches a comprehensive site for all things related to its digital tech scene, Digital.NYC. More

For these seniors, the best retirement is not to retire. From a 102-year-old Wal-Mart worker to an activist park ranger, these workers have stayed on the job well into their golden years. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.