The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 9.5 percent in December 2011, down from November’s 9.9 percent rate. This marks the fourth consecutive monthly rate drop and is down 1.6 percent from 2011’s high of 11.1 percent in August. It is the lowest rate since December 2008 when unemployment stood at 9.2 percent.
The labor force declined 3,227 from November to December while the number of employed grew by 4,307, and the number of unemployed fell by 7,534. This is the highest number of employed and the lowest number of unemployed during 2011. The labor force level was 2,162,094 in December.
Nonfarm payroll employment dropped 3,800 from November to December but is up 17,800 from a year ago.
There were significant month-to-month increases in trade, transportation and utilities of 1,500 jobs, along with the addition 1,200 jobs in manufacturing. Manufacturing has increased 11,600 jobs from last year. The growth in trade, Transportation and utilities was mainly in retail, with durable goods primarily driving the gain in manufacturing.
The leisure and hospitality sector reported a loss of 3,500 jobs, while government reflected a decrease of 2,800 since November.
The national unemployment rate saw a decrease from 8.7 percent in November to 8.5 percent in December.