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Economy in Brief

U.S. State Unemployment Rates Continue Downward
by Tom Moeller  April 22, 2014

The overall U.S. unemployment rate declined last month to 6.7% from 10.0% at its late-2009 peak. Falling jobless rates occurred throughout the country, but there was great variation amongst individual states. The country's largest states realized great improvement in labor market conditions. California's comparatively high 8.1% jobless rate was sharply below the 2010 high of 12.3%. Unemployment in Illinois of 8.4% also was comparatively high, but down from the peak of 11.4%. The jobless rate in Texas was down to 5.5% from its 2010 high of 8.3%. In Tennessee, last month's 6.7% rate compared to the 2009 high of 11.0%. New York's unemployment rate of 6.9% compared to the 2009 peak of 8.9%.

Amongst mid-sized states, Michigan showed perhaps the greatest degree of lessened joblessness in the country. The 7.5% rate was down a full percentage point in the last four months, and stood at nearly half the 14.2% peak in 2009. Florida's 6.3% rate of joblessness compared to 11.4% at the 2009 peak and Virginia at 5.0% was below the 7.4% peak. Amongst smaller states, Vermont's 3.4% unemployment rate compared to a high of 7.2% while Connecticut saw its rate fall to 7.0% from 9.5%. North Dakota's rate at 2.6% stood lower than the 2009 high of 4.2% and Nebraska's fell to 3.7% from the 4.9% peak.

The unemployment rate figures in individual metropolitan areas continued, in most circumstances, to differ widely from the state numbers. Florida's 6.3% unemployment rate was well below the 7.3% in the Miami metro area, although Miami's rate was down from 12.4% in 2010. Michigan's 7.5% jobless rate also was under the 8.1% jobless rate around Detroit. In 2009 it reached 16.0%. New York state's 6.9% unemployment rate stood below the 8.0% in New York City while California's 8.1% rate was under the 8.7% around Los Angeles. Also, Ohio's 6.1% rate was well below Cleveland's of 7.3%. Close to one another were the Illinois unemployment rate of 8.4% and the 8.2% rate around Chicago. Working the other way were Washington state's 6.3% jobless rate which exceeded Seattle's 5.2%.

State unemployment figures are available in Haver's EMPLR database.

Mar Feb 2013 2012 2011 Labor Force

Total U.S. Unemployment Rate

6.7% 6.7% 7.4% 8.1% 8.9% 155.7 million

Ten States With Highest Jobless Rate

  Nevada 8.5 8.5 9.8 11.5 13.3 1.4
  Illinois 8.4 8.7 9.1 9.0 9.7 9.6
  California 8.1 8.1 8.9 10.4 11.8 18.6
  Mississippi 7.6 7.4 8.6 9.2 10.6 1.3
  Michigan 7.5 7.7 8.8 9.1 10.4 4.7
  New Jersey 7.2 8.1 8.2 9.3 9.3 4.6
  Tennessee 6.7 6.9 8.2 8.2 9.3 3.1
  North Carolina 6.3 6.4 8.0 9.3 10.2 4.7
  Indiana 5.9 6.1 7.5 8.1 8.8 3.2
Ten States With Lowest Jobless Rate          
  Virginia 5.0 4.9 5.5 5.9 6.5 4.2 million
  Minnesota 4.8 4.8 5.0 5.6 6.5 3.0
  New Hampshire 4.5 4.7 5.3 5.5 5.5 0.7
  Hawaii 4.5 4.6 4.8 5.7 6.5 0.7
  Iowa 4.5 4.4 4.7 5.2 5.8 1.6
  Utah 4.0 4.0 4.4 5.4 6.8 1.4
  Wyoming 4.0 4.2 4.6 5.4 6.1 0.3
  Nebraska 3.7 3.6 3.9 4.0 4.5 1.0
  Vermont 3.4 3.7 4.3 4.9 5.6 0.4
  North Dakota 2.6 2.6 2.9 3.0 3.4 0.4
Jobless Rate In Other Selected Large States          
  Arizona 7.3 7.3 8.0 8.3 9.4 3.0 million
  Connecticut 7.0 7.0 7.8 8.3 8.9 1.8
  New York 6.9 6.8 7.7 8.5 8.3 9.6
  Massachusetts 6.3 6.5 7.1 6.8 7.3 3.5
  Florida 6.3 6.2 7.2 8.8 10.3 9.4
  Washington 6.3 6.3 7.0 8.1 9.2 3.5
  Ohio 6.1 6.5 7.3 7.4 8.7 5.7
  Wisconsin 5.9 6.1 6.7 6.9 7.5 3.1
  Texas 5.7 5.7 6.3 6.9 7.9 12.8
  Louisiana 4.5 4.5 6.1 6.5 7.2 2.1
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