8 States Report Record Unemployment In May

The unemployment rate in the West jumped over 10 percent last month, the first time that regional threshold has been broken in about 25 years. On the state level, eight set record-highs and only two — Nebraska and Vermont — did not report increases.

The Labor Department reported Friday that 48 states and the District of Columbia saw employment conditions deteriorate last month. The fallout from the longest recession since World War II, was the worst in Michigan as automakers cut tens of thousands of jobs. Its unemployment rate rose to 14.1 percent.

The West region reported the highest jobless rate at 10.1 percent. The last time any region had a rate of at least 10 percent was September 1983, when the country was emerging from a severe recession.

The region is home to California, where the jobless rate jumped to a record 11.5 percent last month, Nevada, where it's a record 11.3 percent, and other states that have been slammed when the housing boom went bust — snatching jobs and wealth.

The other six states that set new highs on records dating to 1976 were: North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia.

Nebraska's jobless rate dipped last month, while Vermont's was flat.

On the layoffs front, Arizona and Florida suffered the largely monthly percentage decreases, followed by Oklahoma and Arkansas, Kentucky and Michigan.

Joblessness is rising as companies lay off workers and turn to other cost-saving measures, such as trimming hours and freezing or slicing wages, to survive the recession. Housing, credit and financial problems — the worst since the 1930s — have sent the economy into a tailspin.

Factories, construction companies, retailers and financial companies are among the industries that have slashed the most jobs. U.S. manufacturers have suffered a double whammy: Customers in the U.S. have pulled back along with foreign customers, who are dealing with their own economic troubles.

This program aired on June 19, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.


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