The chart above shows the unemployment rate in each US state as of August 2020, the change from the previous month, and the rate one year prior. The unemployment rate continues to drop in most states resulting in 33 states with an unemployment rate below eight percent.
- The difference between the state with the lowest unemployment rate, Nebraska, and the state with the highest, Nevada, is 9.20 percentage points (down from 11.70 last month and up from 3.80 last year). Kentucky and Utah had the lowest rate last month while North Dakota and Vermont had the lowest rate last year. Massachusetts had the highest rate last month while Alaska had the highest rate last year.
- Nevada has 3.30 times the unemployment rate that Nebraska does. The ratio of highest rate to lowest rate was down from 3.60 last month and up from 2.58 last year.
- The median unemployment rate in the 50 US states is 7.20 (down from 8.60 last month and up from 3.50 last year) and the mean 7.70 (down from 9.20 the previous month and up from 3.55 last year).
- One state saw no change in the unemployment rate from the previous month, 45 saw an improvement, and four saw the rate increase.
- Zero states saw no change in the unemployment rate from last year, while zero saw an improvement over the prior year's rate, and 50 saw the unemployment rate increase over the year.
- Data is from August 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, Massachusetts had the best performance over the previous month dropping 4.9 percentage points. Kentucky had the worst performance with an increase of 3.1 percentage points in the unemployment rate. Year over year, Nebraska had the best performance with a 0.9 percentage point rise while Hawaii had the worst performance with a 9.8 percentage point rise in the unemployment rate.
In relative terms, Arizona had the best performance over the previous month with a 44.86% drop in its rate while Kentucky had the worst performance with an 68.89% rise in its rate. Year over year, Alaska had the best performance with a 19.35% rise in its rate while Hawaii had the worst performance with a 362.96% rise in its rate.
Zero states have an unemployment rate below four percent (same as 0 last month, down from 39 last year) which traditionally has placed inflationary pressure on wages. Thirty-three have a rate between four and eight percent (up from 23 last month, up from 11 last year), and 17 have a rate above eight percent (down from 27 last month, up from 0 last year).
Arizona (from 38th lowest unemployment rate to 11th lowest) bested 27 states between last month and this. On the other hand, Kentucky (from 1st to 30th) was bested by 29 states. Year-over-year, Arizona (from 45th to 11th) surpassed 34 states. Conversely, Hawaii (from 7th to 47th) was surpassed by 40 states.
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Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2020. "State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) News Release." Accessed October 6, 2020. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.htm.