In more than half the states in the nation, unemployment last month reached its lowest point since the recession officially ended 4.5 years ago.
December marked the lowest post-recession rate in 29 states, with Missouri, South Carolina and Florida returning to levels — 5.9 percent, 6.6 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively — not seen since the summer of 2008. Unemployment in the states for which December marked a post-recession record ranged from 3.6 percent in Nebraska to 8.8 percent in Nevada, which was especially hard-hit by the downturn.
The recession officially ended in July 2009, though significant concerns remain. Long-term unemployment is historically high, and some economists believe many part-time workers would be working full-time if they could find such work. Some also worry that the unemployment rate is artificially low as would-be workers abandon the job search altogether, disqualifying them from the count.
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