Weather blamed for drops in January payrolls in 27 states

03/17/2014 10:52 AM

03/17/2014 10:52 AM

Payrolls decreased in 27 states in January, showing a slowdown in job growth extended throughout much of the country.

California led the nation with a 31,500 drop in payrolls for the month, followed by Illinois with a loss of 27,600 jobs, figures from the Labor Department showed Monday in Washington. At the same time, the unemployment rate fell throughout the country as 43 states posted decreases.

A report from the Labor Department this month showed hiring accelerated in February as the world’s largest economy began to emerge from the winter chill that had curbed growth earlier in the year. Federal Reserve policymakers, who meet in in Washington this week, are projected to trim their monthly bond buying to $55 billion from $65 billion with the employment situation on the mend.

“We continue to see moderate improvement,” Sean Incremona, a senior economist at 4cast Inc. in New York, said before the report. Employment “is incrementally gathering momentum over this year and into next year.”

State and local employment data are derived independently from the national statistics, which are usually released on the first Friday of every month. The state figures are subject to larger sampling errors because they come from smaller surveys, making the national figures more reliable, according to the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Payrolls picked up in February following a December and January slowdown, which many economists have attributed to unusually harsh winter weather. That means growth in state payrolls may be poised for a rebound in the next report. The United States added 175,000 jobs in February, a report showed, following gains of 129,000 in January and 84,000 in December.

The jobless rate edged up to 6.7 percent in February from a more than five-year low of 6.6 percent in January as the pace of hiring failed to keep up with the number of people entering the workforce, the Labor Department said.

Monday’s figures showed Louisiana, Michigan and Tennessee were among the states with biggest declines in joblessness. The unemployment rate in Rhode Island, at 9.2 percent in January, was the highest in the country. North Dakota at 2.6 percent had the lowest.

Texas led the 23 states that showed payroll increases in January, showing a 33,900 advance. Ohio was second with a 16,700 gain.

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