You know the bad news when it comes to unemployment -- the jobless rate at 8.8% percent. Thirteen and a half million Americans not working. Corporate America is hiring more folks overseas than right here at home.
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But it's not impossible to find a silver lining in the unemployment picture. Look no further than last month's jobless report. Fully two-thirds of this nation - or 34 states - saw unemployment rates fall, and in some cases dramatically.
That's the largest number of states to record a decline since June. So where are the jobs?
Texas added more than 37,000 jobs in March - the most of any state. Missouri and Florida also reported strong gains.
New Mexico reported the biggest monthly drop in unemployment among all the states - falling from 8.7% in February to 8.1%.
Other big monthly declines were reported in Florida, Oklahoma, Indiana, Missouri and Ohio. And if you live in the Midwest, you have a reason to smile. The region generated more jobs in the past three months than anywhere else, mostly due to a rebound in manufacturing.
And it's the first region which has seen new weekly applications for unemployment benefits fall to pre-recession levels. As a result - the unemployment rate in the Midwest dropped a tenth of a percentage point to 8.3%. Just above the northeast's 8.2% - the best in the nation.
But alas - it's not good news everywhere. The West had the highest unemployment in March, still at 10.7%. The south is still at 9%.
Nevada again had the highest unemployment rate of any state - although it did fall from 13.6% to 13.2% last month. California is second with 12%.
But make no mistake, the bottom line is this: we may be close to a recovery in the job market though we are not there yet.
Too many people are still without jobs - and worse many aren't even looking for one anymore. As we debate a host of issues in D.C. and state capitols across the country - we can't lose sight of the goal--- putting Americans back to work, and our economy back on track.