Geography of unemployment, August 2009

September 21, 2009

In August, the West reported the highest regional jobless rate, 10.6 percent, followed by the Midwest, 10.0 percent. The Northeast recorded the lowest rate, 9.0 percent.

Unemployment rate by geographic region and division, August 2008 and August 2009
[Chart data]

All four regions experienced significant unemployment rate increases from August 2008, the largest of which was in the West (+4.1 percentage points).

Among the nine geographic divisions, the Pacific and East North Central had the highest unemployment rates in August, 11.6 and 11.1 percent, respectively. The Pacific rate was the highest in its series. (All region, division, and state series begin in 1976.)

The divisions registering the lowest jobless rates were the West North Central, 7.5 percent, and West South Central, 7.8 percent.

All nine divisions had significant over-the-year rate increases, with the largest change occurring in the Pacific (+4.5 percentage points). Two other divisions also experienced increases of 4.0 percentage points or more—the East North Central and East South Central (+4.2 percentage points each).

Michigan (in the East North Central division) continued to have the highest unemployment rate among the states, 15.2 percent. Nevada (in the Mountain division) recorded the next highest rate, 13.2 percent, followed by Rhode Island (New England division), 12.8 percent, and California and Oregon (both in the Pacific division), 12.2 percent each.

These data are from the BLS Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. These data are seasonally adjusted, and are featured in "Regional and State Employment and Unemployment — August 2009" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL 09-1126.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Geography of unemployment, August 2009 on the Internet at (visited September 25, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.