Government statistics show lower unemployment

Only three states had unemployment in double-digits this February, down from nine a year before, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

California, Nevada and Rhode Island posted unemployment levels of 10.9, 12.3 and 11 percent during the second month of 2012, respectively. Those levels are at least 2 percent lower year-over-year for California and Nevada, but Rhode Island’s recession-high level of unemployment was 11.9 percent. While not as high as some other states have experienced, the subsequent improvements have been more restrained, the federal agency reports.

The report also indicated California added more than 127,300 jobs in the last year, behind only New York at 141,300 and Texas with 273,000. Meanwhile, the states which saw unemployment drop below 10 percent include Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon and South Carolina. Their current levels are between 9.4 and 8.7 percent. With national unemployment stable at 8.3 percent in February, they remained above average, but nevertheless showed substantial improvement.

Landlords and property management companies in these states may see an increase in qualified rental applicants as the employment situation stabilizes. More Americans in these parts of the country may be able to afford the rent increases that have marked the rental housing business in recent years.