JEC Releases March State-by-State Economic Snapshots

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC) released the March 2012 edition of its state-by-state snapshots which detail each individual state’s economic progress for the previous month.  The report shows widespread private-sector gains reaching nearly four out of five states, with 285,000 private-sector jobs added nationally in January.

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the JEC said, “We saw an encouraging number of jobs added extensively across the country with the start of the New Year.  It is imperative that this momentum continues throughout 2012. While this is reassuring news, too many Americans remain unemployed.

“We still have a long way to go, as is evidenced by the employment situation of our nation’s veterans. With 12.1 percent of our Post-9/11 veterans out of work – nearly four percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate – it is clear that the recent progress has not been far-reaching enough. We must do more to provide career training and assistance to aid veterans in their transition to the civilian workforce.

“Additionally, the excessive rise in gas prices threatens to impede the economic progress we have made in recent months. While there is not a quick solution to combat these rising prices, there are steps we can take to alleviate the strain being felt by millions of Americans at the pump. The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act would aid in preventing gas hikes by ensuring that the gas prices are dictated by the free market rather than the nations conspiring to raise prices. As one of the co-sponsors of the NOPEC Act, I urge Congress to pass this bill to ensure that OPEC is held accountable for price fixing. Sky high gas prices cause a huge strain on families that are already struggling to make ends meet. We must ensure that these prices reach more reasonable levels to maintain the economic recovery.”

Report highlights include:

  • Thirty-nine states added private-sector jobs in January.  Texas (73,800) had the largest private-sector gains, accounting for more than one quarter of all private-sector jobs added in the United States, followed by New York (45,500) and Ohio (32,700).  In the past 12 months, 46 states and the District of Columbia gained private-sector jobs, with Texas (332,600), California (167,500) and New York (136,700) recording the largest gains.
  • Forty-five states and the District of Columbia saw their unemployment rates decline in January, with fourteen states recording statistically significant decreases.  Mississippi and Missouri (-0.5 percentage point each) experienced the largest decreases.  In the past 12 months, Michigan reported the largest decline in the unemployment rate (-1.9 percentage points), followed by Utah (-1.8 percentage points).
  • Manufacturing employment expanded in 39 states in January. The largest gains were in Michigan (16,300), followed by Missouri (4,300) and New Jersey (4,000).   In the past 12 months, eight states – Michigan, Texas, Ohio, Indiana, Washington, Iowa, South Carolina and Illinois– each added more than 10,000 manufacturing positions.
  • Thirty-four states added jobs in the professional and business services sector in January.  New York (18,400), Texas (18,100) and Arizona (9,400) posted the largest increases. In the past year, 44 states and the District of Columbia have added professional and business services jobs.
  • Thirty-eight states added jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector during January. Texas (17,100), Ohio (6,800) and New York (6,600) saw the largest gains. In the past 12 months, 34 states and the District of Columbia added leisure and hospitality jobs.

The report entitled “Understanding the Economy: State-by-State Snapshots,” features key economic statistics for each state. (Data concerning Nevada starts on page 59.)  The report is the second edition of 2012 released by the Chairman of the JEC and uses recently released state-level data to explain how the economic recovery is unfolding in each state.