The chart above shows the unemployment rate in each US state as of January 2020, the change from the previous month, and the rate one year prior. North Dakota, South Carolina, and Vermont are the only states that have an unemployment rate below 2.5 percent.
- The difference between the states with the lowest unemployment rate, North Dakota, Utah, and Vermont, and the state with the highest, Alaska, is 3.70 percentage points (same as 3.70 last month and down from 3.80 last year). North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah, and Vermont had the lowest rate last month while North Dakota had the lowest rate last year. Alaska had the highest rate in both time periods.
- Alaska has 2.61 times the unemployment rate that North Dakota, Utah, and Vermont do. The ratio of highest rate to lowest rate was up from 2.54 last month and down from 2.65 last year.
- The median unemployment rate in the 50 US states is 3.45 (same as 3.45 last month and down from 3.60 last year) and the mean 3.51 (down from 3.54 the previous month and down from 3.69 last year).
- Twenty-five states did not see a change in their unemployment rate from the previous month, 19 saw an improvement, and six saw their rate increase.
- Five 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 13 saw their unemployment rate increase over the year.
- Data is from January 2020.
- 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, Illinois had the greatest improvement over the previous month dropping 0.2 percentage points. Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Utah had the greatest deterioration with an increase of 0.1 percentage points in the unemployment rate. Year over year, South Carolina had the greatest improvement with a 1.0 percentage point drop while Louisiana and Pennsylvania had the greatest deterioration with a 0.6 percentage point rise in the unemployment rate.
In relative terms, Illinois had the greatest improvement over the previous month with a 5.41% drop in its rate while Utah had the biggest deterioration with a 4.17% rise in its rate. Year over year, South Carolina had the greatest improvement with a 29.41% drop in its rate while Pennsylvania had the greatest deterioration with a 14.63% rise in its rate.
Forty states have an unemployment rate below four percent (up from 39 last month, up from 33 last year) which traditionally has placed inflationary pressure on wages. Ten have a rate between four and eight percent (down from 11 last month, down from 17 last year), and zero have a rate above eight percent (same as last month and last year).
Illinois (from 32nd lowest unemployment rate to 26th lowest) bested six states between last month and this. On the other hand, Missouri (from 21st to 26th) was bested by five states. Year-over-year, Alabama (from 25th to 7th) surpassed 18 states. Conversely, Delaware (from 22nd to 41st) was surpassed by 19 states.
|State||Last Year||Previous Rate||Latest Rate|
Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2020. "State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) News Release." Accessed March 17, 2020. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.htm.