California’s unemployment third-highest in the nation

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If there was an award for high unemployment, California would have gotten the bronze for August. The state had the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation in August, at 12.4%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday morning. Only Nevada, which set a new series high with an unemployment rate of 14.4%, and Michigan, with an unemployment rate of 13.1%, had higher rates than the Golden State.

California’s unemployment rate rose from 12.3% in July. Twenty-six other states saw their unemployment rates decrease from July to August, including Mississippi and Alabama. California was one of the states with the biggest decreases in employment: It lost 33,600 jobs. Texas lost 34,200 and Michigan lost 50,300. North Carolina added 18,600.

North Dakota registered the lowest unemployment rate in the nation in August, at 3.7%. South Dakota’s unemployment rate in August was 4.5%, Nebraska’s was 4.6%.

There were seven states with ‘measurably’ higher unemployment rates than the U.S. rate of 9.6%. Twenty-five posted jobless rates ‘significantly’ lower than the U.S. rate.


California’s unemployment rate is 0.4 percentage points higher than it was in August 2009. It was not one of the several states, including Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina, that saw unemployment rates fall over the year.

The state has lost 112,800 jobs since August 2009. Widespread unemployment is continuing to strain social systems, leading to increases in applications for disability insurance programs. About 200,000 people out of the state’s 2.3 million unemployed have exhausted their unemployment benefits.

-- Alana Semuels