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March 02, 2001
New Unemployment Claims Continue to Climb
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unemployment claims for the week of Feb. 24 climbed steeper than experts expected. Claims rose 39,000 to a total of 372,000 according to numbers released this week by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The steep rise reflected additional filings by school workers in the New England area following their winter break, and weather-related applications on the heels of a tornado in Alabama, according to reports from Reuters. The sharp climb also includes layoffs in the automobile parts industry in North Carolina that were a result of recent layoffs in the auto manufacturing state of Michigan, Reuters reported.

The department also released its regional and state unemployment numbers for January. The northeast recorded the lowest regional unemployment rate, 3.6 percent. The west continued to report the highest rate, 4.3 percent.

Unemployment rates in 31 states were below the U.S. average in January, while rates in 15 states and the District of Columbia were above it. Two states reported rates below 2.0 percent - South Dakota (1.8 percent) and Connecticut (1.9 percent). Eight additional states posted rates of 2.5 percent or less.

In January, eight states registered the lowest rates in their series - California, Connecticut, Idaho, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. The states with the highest unemployment rates were Alaska (6.1 percent), Louisiana (5.7 percent), and West Virginia (5.5 percent). The District of Columbia's rate was 6.1 percent.



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