US Unemployment Rates, November 2019

Jan 13, 2020
Unemployment Rate in US States

The chart above shows the unemployment rate in each US state as of November 2019, the change from the previous month, and the rate one year prior.  Vermont, South Carolina, and Utah are the only states that have an unemployment rate below 2.5 percent.

Findings

  • The difference between the state with the lowest unemployment rate, Vermont, and the state with the highest, Alaska, is 3.80 percentage points (down from 4.00 last month and down from 4.10 last year).  Vermont had the lowest rate last month while Iowa and New Hampshire had the lowest rate last year.  Alaska had the highest rate in both time periods.
  • Alaska has 2.65 times the unemployment rate that Vermont does.  The ratio of highest rate to lowest rate was the same as 2.82 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 3.54 (same as 3.54 the previous month and down from 3.70 last year).
  • Twenty states did not see a change in their unemployment rate from the previous month, 17 saw an improvement, and 13 saw their rate increase.
  • Four states did not see a change in their unemployment rate from last year, while 32 saw an improvement over the prior year's rate, and 14 saw their unemployment rate increase over the year.

Caveats

  • Data is from November 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.

Details

In absolute terms, North and South Carolina had the greatest improvement over the previous month dropping 0.2 percentage points.  Louisiana and New Jersey had the greatest deterioration with an increase of 0.2 percentage points in the unemployment rate.  Year over year, Alabama had the greatest improvement with a 1.1 percentage point drop while Mississippi had the greatest deterioration with a 0.9 percentage point rise in the unemployment rate.

In relative terms, South Carolina had the greatest improvement over the previous month with a 7.69% drop in its rate while New Jersey had the biggest deterioration with a 6.25% rise in its rate.  Year over year, Alabama had the greatest improvement with a 28.95% drop in its rate while Mississippi had the greatest deterioration with a 19.15% rise in its rate.

Thirty-seven states have an unemployment rate below four percent (up from 35 last month, up from 33 last year) which traditionally has placed inflationary pressure on wages.  Thirteen have a rate between four and eight percent (down from 15 last month, down from 17 last year), and zero have a rate above eight percent (same as last month and last year).

Hawaii (from 9th lowest unemployment rate to 5th lowest), Florida (from 18th to 14th), Georgia (from 24th to 20th), and Tennessee (from 24th to 20th) each bested four states between last month and this.  On the other hand, New Jersey (from 18th to 24th) was bested by six states.  Year-over-year, Alabama (from 30th to 10th) surpassed ten states.  Conversely, Delaware (from 20th to 33rd) was surpassed by 13 states.

Data

StateLast YearPrevious RateLatest Rate
Alabama3.82.82.7
Alaska6.56.26.1
Arizona4.94.84.7
Arkansas3.73.53.6
California4.13.93.9
Colorado3.62.62.6
Connecticut3.83.63.7
Delaware3.53.73.8
Florida3.33.23.1
Georgia3.73.43.3
Hawaii2.62.72.6
Idaho2.82.92.9
Illinois4.33.93.8
Indiana3.53.23.2
Iowa2.42.62.6
Kansas3.33.13.1
Kentucky4.34.34.4
Louisiana4.94.54.7
Maine3.52.82.8
Maryland3.73.63.6
Massachusetts3.12.92.9
Michigan44.14
Minnesota2.93.23.3
Mississippi4.75.55.6
Missouri3.13.13.1
Montana3.73.43.4
Nebraska2.83.13.1
Nevada4.44.14
New Hampshire2.42.62.6
New Jersey3.93.23.4
New Mexico54.84.8
New York3.944
North Carolina3.743.8
North Dakota2.62.52.5
Ohio4.64.24.2
Oklahoma3.13.33.4
Oregon4.343.9
Pennsylvania4.24.24.3
Rhode Island43.63.5
South Carolina3.22.62.4
South Dakota2.933.1
Tennessee3.33.43.3
Texas3.73.43.4
Utah3.22.52.4
Vermont2.62.22.3
Virginia2.82.62.6
Washington4.54.54.4
West Virginia5.14.84.9
Wisconsin33.33.3
Wyoming4.13.83.7

Sources

Bureau of Labor Statistics.  2019.  "State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) News Release."  Accessed January 13, 2019.  https://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.htm.

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