California and Nevada Reach Record Unemployment Levels

Unemployment rose in 27 U.S. states in August, with California and Nevada reaching record levels of joblessness.

Rhode Island rounded out the list of states with the highest level of unemployment since data began in 1976, the Labor Department reported today in Washington. California’s unemployment rate reached 12.2 percent and Nevada’s climbed to 13.2 percent.

The number of states with at least 10 percent unemployment fell to 14 from 15 as Indiana’s rate dropped below that threshold. The jobless rate nationally reached a 26-year high of 9.7 percent in August, the Labor Department reported earlier this month.

Unemployment in the District of Columbia also exceeded 10 percent, for a fourth consecutive month, rising to 11.1 percent from 10.6 percent.

Michigan, the heart of the U.S. auto industry, continued to surpass all states, with an unemployment rate of 15.2 percent in August, up from 15 percent. Nevada was second.

New York City’s seasonably adjusted unemployment rate jumped to 10.3 percent in August, the highest since May 1993, the state’s Labor Department reported yesterday. The rate was 9.5 percent in July and 5.9 percent in August 2008.

New York State’s jobless level increased to 9 percent, the highest since April 1983, from 8.6 percent in July, according to a release from the department.

New Jersey’s rate increased to 9.7 percent, the highest level since 1977, from 9.3 percent, the U.S. Labor Department report showed. Joblessness in Connecticut climbed to 8.1 percent from 7.8 percent.

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