The chart above shows the unemployment rate in each US state as of December 2019, the change from the previous month, and the rate one year prior. South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, and North Dakota are the only states that have an unemployment rate below 2.5 percent.
- The difference between the states with the lowest unemployment rate, South Carolina, Utah, and Vermont, and the state with the highest, Alaska, is 3.80 percentage points (same as 3.80 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 2.65 last month and down from 2.71 last year.
- The median unemployment rate in the 50 US states is 3.45 (up from 3.40 last month and down from 3.70 last year) and the mean 3.53 (down from 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.
- 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 December 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, Nevada and Oregon had the greatest improvement over the previous month dropping 0.2 percentage points. Louisiana, Missouri, and Pennsylvania had the greatest deterioration with an increase of 0.2 percentage points in the unemployment rate. Year over year, Alabama and Colorado had the greatest improvement with a 1.1 percentage point drop while Mississippi had the greatest deterioration with a 1.0 percentage point rise in the unemployment rate.
In relative terms, Oregon had the greatest improvement over the previous month with a 5.13% drop in its rate while Missouri had the biggest deterioration with a 6.45% rise in its rate. Year over year, Colorado had the greatest improvement with a 30.56% drop in its rate while Mississippi had the greatest deterioration with a 21.28% rise in its rate.
Thirty-nine states have an unemployment rate below four percent (up from 37 last month, up from 33 last year) which traditionally has placed inflationary pressure on wages. Eleven have a rate between four and eight percent (down from 13 last month, down from 17 last year), and zero have a rate above eight percent (same as last month and last year).
Oregon (from 36th lowest unemployment rate to 31st lowest) bested five states between last month and this. On the other hand, Missouri (from 14th to 20th) was bested by six states. Year-over-year, Alabama (from 30th to 9th) surpassed 21 states. Conversely, Delaware (from 22nd to 37th) was surpassed by 15 states.
|State||Last Year||Previous Rate||Latest Rate|
Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2020. "State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) News Release." Accessed February 10, 2020. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.htm.