The chart above shows the unemployment rate in each US state as of August 2019, the change from the previous month, and the rate one year prior. Vermont continues to be the only state that has an unemployment rate below 2.25 percent.
- The difference between the state with the lowest unemployment rate, Vermont, and the state with the highest, Alaska, is 4.10 percentage points (down from 4.20 last month and same as 4.10 last year). Vermont had the lowest rate last month while Iowa had the lowest rate last year. Alaska had the highest rate in both time periods.
- Alaska has 2.95 times the unemployment rate that Vermont does. The ratio of highest rate to lowest rate was down from 3.00 last month and up from 2.71 last year.
- The median unemployment rate in the 50 US states is 3.40 (same as 3.40 last month and down from 3.70 last year) and the mean 3.57 (down from 3.59 the previous month and down from 3.70 last year).
- Twenty-six states did not see a change in their unemployment rate from the previous month, 16 saw an improvement, and eight saw their rate increase.
- Seven states did not see a change in their unemployment rate from last year, while 28 saw an improvement over the prior year's rate, and 15 saw their unemployment rate increase over the year.
- Data is from August 2019.
- Data may conflict with previous month's report as statistical agencies make updates to the rates over the course of the month.
- All figures are rounded to the nearest hundredth.
In absolute terms, Alabama, Illinois, and South Carolina had the greatest improvement over the previous month dropping 0.2 percentage points. Arizona, Delaware, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and Wyoming had the greatest deterioration with an increase of 0.1 percentage points in the unemployment rate. Year over year, Alabama and New Jersey had the greatest improvement with a 0.8 percentage point drop while Minnesota, Mississippi, and North Carolina had the greatest deterioration with a 0.5 percentage point rise in the unemployment rate.
In relative terms, Alabama had the greatest improvement over the previous month with a 6.06% drop in its rate while Wisconsin had the biggest deterioration with a 3.33% rise in its rate. Year over year, Alabama had the greatest improvement with a 20.51% drop in its rate while Minnesota had the greatest deterioration with a 17.86% rise in its rate.
Thirty-four states have an unemployment rate below four percent (same as 34 last month, up from 33 last year) which traditionally has placed inflationary pressure on wages. Sixteen have a rate between four and eight percent (same as 16 last month, down from 17 last year), and zero have a rate above eight percent (same as last month and last year).
South Carolina (from 22nd lowest unemployment rate to 16th lowest) bested six states between last month and this as its rate went from 3.4% to 3.2%. On the other hand, Delaware (from 16th to 25th) was bested by nine states as its rate went from 3.3% to 3.4%. Year-over-year, New Jersey (from 34th to 16th) surpassed 18 states. Conversely, North Carolina (from 24th to 41st) was surpassed by 17 states.
|State||Last Year||Previous Rate||Latest Rate|
Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2019. "State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) News Release." Accessed October 7, 2019. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.htm.