Unemployment Falls In 20 US States

The US has reported it’s forth straight month of hiring with unemployment falling in 20 states in May. Nationwide 217,000 jobs were added by employers in May making it the fourth consecutive month of gains above 200,000, the first stretch since 1999.

The nations unemployment rate remains at 6.3%, matching a five year low. Unemployment rose in 16 states, unemployment was unchanged in 14 states, hiring rose in 36 states and declined in 14. Illinois and Massachuesetts reported the biggest drops in unemployment with rates falling from 7.9% to 7.5% and 6% to 5.6% respectively. Georgia reported the largest increase in employment from 6.9% to 7.2%.

There are a few reasons unemployment rates don’t decline in some states although those states added jobs. Job figures and unemployment rates sometimes diverge because the information comes from separate surveys. Job gains are derived from a survey of businesses whereas the unemployment rate is derived from household surveys. Unemployment figures also sometimes decline because unemployed people give up on the hunt for work and the US government don’t count people as unemployed unless they’re actively searching for work.

A survey recently revealed that almost half of the unemployed Americans, including those receiving unemployment benefits, are not looking for a job, causing the debate on the 2014 unemployment extension into a spin. Some Republicans and Democrats are now working together to create a new unemployment extension bill focusing on the newly jobless and how they can spur on job creation and motivation. The debate rages over whether letting the unemployment extension die completely would cause people to look harder for work. Some say the unemployment benefits are “tamping down any sense of urgency”, when it comes to the unemployed finding a job. A survey earlier this year stated 36% of unemployed people said they spent less than five hours job hunting in a week, 75% considered unemployment benefits a cushion and 50% said they weren’t searching as hard as they could be based upon receiving unemployment benefits.

Employers who do have excess jobs are turning to applicant tracking systems to speed up the hiring process for both hiring managers and applicants. Current technology on the market and job aggregators are simplifying recruiting efforts and making it easier for qualified job hunters to apply online for jobs.

photo credit: khawkins04 via photopin cc