September unemployment rates decline in 30 states, including Washington. A slow labor market recovery anticipated.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports today that unemployment rates continue to decline in most states, but everywhere remain much higher than the pre-pandemic rates a year ago.

Unemployment rates were lower in September in 30 states, higher in 8 states, and stable in 12 states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. All 50 states and the District had jobless rate increases from a year earlier. The national unemployment rate declined by 0.5 percentage point over the month to 7.9 percent but was 4.4 points higher than in September 2019.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 30 states, decreased in 3 states, and was essentially unchanged in 17 states and the District of Columbia in September 2020. Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment decreased in 48 states and the District and was essentially unchanged in 2 states.

The BLS reports Washington’s unemployment rate in September was 7.8%, down from 8.4% in August and just slightly below the U.S. rate of 7.9%. A year ago, Washington’s unemployment rate was 4.1%., while the U.S. rate was 3.5%.

Tourism dependent states continued to suffer.

Hawaii had the highest unemployment rate in September, 15.1 percent, followed by Nevada, 12.6 percent…

The largest unemployment rate increases from September 2019 occurred in Hawaii (+12.4 percentage points) and Nevada (+8.9 points). 

The vice-chair of the Federal Reserve expects unemployment to remain elevated for some time.

The U.S. economy is rebounding strongly after taking a big hit because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it may be another year before the economy returns to pre-crisis levels and take even longer for the labor market to recoup lost ground, Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida said on Monday.

“While recovery since the spring collapse in economic activity has been robust, let us not forget that the full economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession has a long way to go,” Clarida said during a virtual discussion organized for the American Bankers Association Convention.

The pandemic threw the U.S. economy into a “very deep hole” and despite recent improvements, the outlook is “unusually uncertain,” Clarida said.

The U.S. unemployment rate has dropped significantly to 7.9% from a high of 14.7% seen earlier this spring, but it may not drop below 4% again until the end of 2023 according to Fed projections.

A rough prognosis.