The chart above shows the unemployment rate in each US state as of December 2020, the change from the previous month, and the rate one year prior. The unemployment rate continues to drop in most states resulting in seven states with a rate below four percent.
- The difference between the states with the lowest unemployment rate, Nebraska and South Dakota, and the state with the highest, Hawaii, is 6.30 percentage points (down from 7.40 last month and up from 3.70 last year). Nebraska and Vermont had the lowest rate last month while North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah, and Vermont had the lowest rate last year. Hawaii and Nevada had the highest rate last month while Alaska had the highest rate last year.
- Hawaii has 3.10 times the unemployment rate that Nebraska and South Dakota do. The ratio of highest rate to lowest rate was down from 3.47 last month and up from 2.54 last year.
- The median unemployment rate in the 50 US states is 5.90 (up from 5.85 last month and up from 3.45 last year) and the mean 5.91 (down from 6.04 the previous month and up from 3.54 last year).
- Of the 50 states, four saw no change in the unemployment rate from the previous month, 28 saw an improvement, and 18 saw the rate increase.
- Of the 50 states, one saw no change in the unemployment rate from last year, two saw an improvement over the prior year's rate, and 47 saw the unemployment rate increase over the year.
- Data is from December 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, New Jersey had the best performance over the previous month dropping 2.6 percentage points. Colorado had the worst performance with an increase of 2.0 percentage points in the unemployment rate. Year over year, South Dakota had the best performance with a 0.4 percentage point drop while Hawaii had the worst performance with a 6.6 percentage point rise in the unemployment rate.
In relative terms, Arkansas had the best performance over the previous month with a 33.33% drop in its rate while Colorado had the worst performance with an 31.25% rise in its rate. Year over year, South Dakota had the best performance with a 11.76% drop in its rate while Hawaii had the worst performance with a 244.44% rise in its rate.
Seven states have an unemployment rate below four percent (up from 5 last month, down from 39 last year) which traditionally has placed inflationary pressure on wages. Thirty-six have a rate between four and eight percent (down from 37 last month, up from 11 last year), and seven have a rate above eight percent (down from 8 last month, up from 0 last year).
Arkansas (from 29th lowest unemployment rate to 10th lowest) rose 19 spots between last month and this. On the other hand, Missouri (from 9th to 24th) fell 15 spots. Year-over-year, Alaska (from 50th to 24th) rose 26 spots. Conversely, Hawaii (from 7th to 50th) fell 43 spots.
|State||Last Year||Previous Rate||Latest Rate|
Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2021. "State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly) News Release." Accessed February 4, 2021. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.htm.