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September 1984, Vol. 107, No. 9
State and regional employment
and unemployment in 1983
During 1983, the United States recovered from one of the longest and deepest recessions since World War II. At the end of 1982, employment had reached its recession low and the civilian worker unemployment rate had climbed 2.2 percentage points over the year. In marked contrast, data for 1983 document one of the most dramatic recoveries since employment and unemployment statistics have been collected, as the national civilian unemployment rate fell 2.5 percentage points during the year to 8.0 percent in December (not seasonally adjusted).1
This brightening economic situation at the national level was also apparent in most States. Between the fourth quarter of 1982 and that of 1983, only seven States reported over-the-year declines in nonagricultural employment. Many of those decreases were small, and all States reported either improvements or no change in unemployment. However, just as all industries and occupations have not participated equally in the current recovery, some States also have been slow to benefit from the upturn.
This article concentrates on employment and unemployment2 for States between the fourth quarters of 1982 and 1983. Unlike national data, State and area data are not adjusted for seasonality. Because month-to-month changes are subject to seasonal influences that can obscure cyclical developments and the underlying economic trends, the presentation is limited to changes from the same quarter a year earlier, because they are not affected by seasonal movements.3
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1 For a review of the national employment situation in 1983, see Eugene Becker and Norman Bowers, "Employment and unemployment gains widespread in 1983," Monthly Labor Review, February 1984, pp. 3-15. For a review of regional developments over the 1970's, see Richard J. Rosen, "Regional variations in employment and unemployment during 1970-82" in the same issue, pp. 38-45.
2 State and area payroll employment and labor force estimates are a product of two Federal State cooperative programs: Current Employment Statistics (CES) and Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) estimates are produced by State Employment Security Agencies following Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) guidelines. CES estimates of nonagricultural employment have been benchmarked to March 1983 levels in all States except Wisconsin. Wisconsin estimates are benchmarked to December 1982. Annual averages for 1982 and 1983 are published in the monthly BLS publication, Employment and Earnings, May 1984. LAUS estimates are benchmarked to the 1983 Current Population Survey. Annual averages are published in Geographic Profile of Employment and Unemployment, 1983 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, forthcoming bulletin). Other CES and LAUS estimates are available on LABSTAT or on request from the Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics. Because of differences in sources of benchmark data and differences in estimating techniques, State estimates will not necessarily add to national totals. Regional estimates are based on sums of State estimates. When regions or States are compared with the Nation, estimates for the United States are based on the sum of State estimates.
3 This abrupt cyclical change is almost totally masked, both for employment changes and unemployment rates, if annual averages are used for analysis. On average, the U.S. economy was not much better over 1983 than 1982, with the major difference being that 1983 was on the upswing for the Nation and most States. Rather than concentrate on annual average levels it will be more illustrative to observe over-the-year changes in employment and unemployment for each State or region.
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