U.S. Employment to Hit Pre-Recession Levels in Many States


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Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Labor released figures showing that around 169,000 jobs had been added in the U.S. in August. Though employment numbers have been rising slowly now for months, unemployment across the U.S. remains at just above 7%. New research has now shown that while many states are beginning to recover from the so-called "great recession," others will continue to struggle with high unemployment for years.

Analyst firm IHS today released predictions that 18 U.S. states will have returned to "peak employment" by the end of this year. Peak employment in this case refers to the maximum level of employment seen before the recession. A few states, namely Texas, Alaska, North Dakota, and New York had already returned to peak employment by the end of 2012.

Other states have taken the recession harder. Manufacturing downturns have strongly affected Michigan and Rhode Island, which are projected to still have close to 9% unemployment at the end of this year. Nevada, which IHS says was hit particularly hard by the housing crisis, could be even worse off, with a projected 9.6% unemployment rate at the end of 2013. IHS believes these three states won't meet their peak employment levels before the end of 2018 at the earliest. California, Illinois, and Florida are also expected to end 2013 with relatively high unemployment numbers.

"Florida, though perennially among the states with the fastest rates of job growth before the housing downturn, will not return to its peak employment until the third quarter of 2016,” said James Diffley, U.S. regional economist for IHS.