Jobless Rate Tops 10 Percent In 15 States

The Labor Department on Friday said unemployment topped 10 percent in 15 states and the District of Columbia last month. And the jobless rate in Michigan surpassed 15 percent, the first time any state hit that mark since 1984.

If laid-off workers who have given up looking for jobs or have settled for part-time work are included, the state’s jobless rate was 22.5 percent, according to Michigan’s Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Development. Nationwide unemployment by that measure was 16.5 percent in June, the highest on government records dating to 1994.

Many workers have seen hours trimmed, their pay cut and have lost benefits. Combine that with a dismal housing market making it difficult for people to sell their homes and move to other places to find work, some jobseekers are trapped.

The other states where unemployment topped 10 percent last month were: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee. In May, 13 states plus the District of Columbia watched their jobless rates surpass 10 percent. Alabama and Georgia joined the list in June.

Rhode Island had the second-highest unemployment rate in the country in June at 12.4 percent. When including people who stopped looking for work and those forced into part-time jobs, the state’s unemployment rate was 22.7 percent, Mishel estimated.

Oregon had the third-highest unemployment rate at 12.2 percent, which was 21.6 percent by the broadest measure. South Carolina’s jobless rate of 12.1 percent jumped to 22 percent when underemployed workers were included. It was followed by Nevada with a jobless rate of 12 percent, or 21.6 percent by the broadest measure, Mishel said.

The June jobless rates for Nevada, Rhode Island and South Carolina were the highest ever for those states in records dating to 1976. Other record-highs: Florida at 10.6 percent, Georgia at 10.1 percent and Delaware at 8.4 percent.

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