Unemployment Dropped In Most States In December, But Will It Last?

For everyone who so over these economic doldrums, the latest Labor Department jobs data for December 2011 may prove to be a bit of a belated holiday gift. Let’s just hope that gift doesn’t end up being returned in a couple months.

According to the newest numbers, 37 states and the District of Columbia saw decreases in the unemployment rate in December. And unlike in some previous months, that drop wasn’t all due to people falling off the unemployment rolls because they had been without work for so long.

Instead, the drop in jobless claims resulted from employers adding jobs in 25 states and DC. Of course, many retailers and retail-support industries tend to hire on temporary staff during the holidays so the overall dip in unemployment may be seasonal.

Nevada (12.6% unemployment) and California (11.1%) remain the states struggling the most with jobless claims, while North Dakota is the only state to be below the 4% threshold with 3.3% unemployment.

Check out the interactive state-by-state map over at WSJ.com.