WASHINGTON (AP) - All but six states lost jobs in April and
double-digit unemployment persisted in every corner of the country
as companies squeezed by the recession slashed payrolls.
For the fifth straight month, California led the nation in net
job losses, with 63,700 jobs disappearing in April. Among the
handful of winners were Arkansas, Montana and Florida - a state
battered by the housing collapse and badly in need of good news.
Michigan, the heart of the teetering American auto industry,
posted the highest unemployment rate in the nation, 12.9 percent,
the Labor Department said Friday. Oregon came in at 12 percent,
South Carolina at 11.5 percent and Rhode Island at 11.1 percent.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has said he expects the
economy to begin growing again later this year, but the recovery is
expected to be slow, with companies in no rush to hire. The Fed
projects unemployment will stay high well into 2011.
After California, Texas cut the second-most jobs of any state,
with 39,500. Michigan lost 38,400 and Ohio 25,200.
Layoffs in manufacturing, construction and retail are a common
theme in states with high unemployment. States like South Carolina,
Michigan and Rhode Island have had trouble luring new types of
companies to cushion the loss of manufacturing jobs and training
laid-off factory workers for other kinds of employment.
Despite the tens of thousands of lost jobs, California's jobless
rate actually fell, to 11 percent from 11.2 percent in March. It
was still the fifth-highest rate in the country.
Todd Laney, 48, of Sacramento, Calif., was laid off early last
year after 19 years working in the parts department of an auto
dealership. He has applied for more than 250 jobs and is still
"I never thought that I would see General Motors go from hero
to zero in my lifetime," he said. "I never thought that we would
see Chrysler facing bankruptcy. I'm trying anything I can get my
hands on because I know that I've got knowledge and skills in the
automotive industry that are transferrable."
Saddled with a $21.3 billion budget deficit, California Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has said thousands of state employees must be laid off and billions must be slashed from the budget.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told lawmakers this week he
does not have authority to use the $700 billion bailout fund to
help state and local governments. Geithner said he was working with
Congress to make it easier for governments to borrow.
He did not rule out somehow using federal tax helping California
or other states with federal taxpayer money.
"That's not putting on the table or taking off the table any
specific thing like that," he said. "But I just want you to know
that there are things that we've had to do I would never have
The nation has lost 5.7 million jobs since the recession, the
longest since World War II, began in December 2007. The nationwide
unemployment rate stands at 8.9 percent, the highest in a
There are some bright spots: Arkansas and Montana tied for the
biggest payroll gains in April, adding 1,500 jobs apiece. Florida
eked out an increase of 1,300 jobs.
Rebecca Rust, an economist for the Agency for Workforce
Innovation in Tallahassee, Fla., said the increase is mostly
because nursing homes and residential care facilities have added
She noted that the monthly gain is relatively small and that
Florida has lost 380,300 jobs since April 2008, second only to
North Dakota again registered the nation's lowest unemployment
rate: 4 percent. It was followed by Nebraska's 4.4 percent jobless
rate, Wyoming's 4.5 percent and South Dakota's 4.8 percent. Ken
Mayland, an economist at ClearView Economics, said he thinks those
states are benefiting from growth in agriculture-related
Nearly 6.7 million people nationwide are drawing state
unemployment insurance, the highest on records dating to 1967. The
crush has exhausted unemployment funds in California, New York and
elsewhere, forcing them to turn to the federal government.
Yahoo Inc., based in Sunnyvale, Calif., plans to lay off nearly
700 workers in its third round of job cuts in a little over a year.
Other California-based employers, including Google Inc. and
Northrop Grumman Corp., announced hundreds of layoffs each in
And one in every 138 California households received a
foreclosure filing last month, according to RealtyTrac Inc. That
was the third-highest rate in the country, behind Florida and