Regional and State Unemployment, 2017 Annual Average Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Tuesday, February 27, 2018                         USDL-18-0297

Technical information:  (202) 691-6392  *  lausinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/lau
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             REGIONAL AND STATE UNEMPLOYMENT -- 2017 ANNUAL AVERAGES


In 2017, annual average unemployment rates decreased in 32 states and were little changed 
or unchanged in 18 states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 
reported today. Employment-population ratios increased in 12 states, decreased in 2 states, 
and were little changed or unchanged in 36 states and the District. The U.S. jobless rate 
declined by 0.5 percentage point from the prior year to 4.4 percent, and the national 
employment-population ratio rose by 0.4 point to 60.1 percent.

Regional Unemployment

All four census regions had unemployment rate decreases from 2016: the Midwest, South, and 
West (-0.6 percentage point each) and the Northeast (-0.3 point). The Midwest had the lowest 
jobless rate, 4.1 percent in 2017. No other region had a rate significantly different from 
that of the U.S. The West recorded the lowest unemployment rate in its series, 4.5 percent. 
(All region, division, and state series begin in 1976. See table 1.)

All nine geographic divisions had over-the-year unemployment rate declines in 2017. The largest 
of these occurred in the East South Central (-0.9 percentage point). The lowest jobless rate 
was in the West North Central, 3.4 percent, followed by the New England and Mountain divisions 
(3.8 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively). The highest rates were in the Middle Atlantic and 
Pacific (4.7 percent each). The remaining four divisions had rates that were not significantly 
different from that of the U.S. The Pacific recorded the lowest unemployment rate in its series, 
4.7 percent.


   _________________________________________________________________________________
  |                                                                                 |
  |            Changes to Local Area Unemployment Statistics Data                   |
  |                                                                                 |
  | Effective with this news release, the civilian labor force and unemployment     |
  | data for census regions and divisions, the states and the District of Columbia, |
  | and the modeled substate areas were revised to incorporate updated inputs,      |
  | new population controls, reestimation of models, and adjustment to new control  |
  | totals. In addition, a new procedure for seasonally adjusting the data was      |
  | implemented. While the not seasonally adjusted data were revised from 2013      |
  | forward, the seasonally adjusted data were revised back to 1976. Information    |
  | on the new seasonal adjustment procedure is available at                        |
  | www.bls.gov/lau/ssachanges2018.htm.                                             |
  |_________________________________________________________________________________|


State Unemployment

Thirty-two states had statistically significant unemployment rate decreases in 2017. The largest 
decline occurred in Alabama (-1.5 percentage points), followed by Wyoming (-1.1 points) and 
Tennessee (-1.0 point). The remaining 18 states and the District of Columbia had annual average 
jobless rates in 2017 that were not appreciably different from those of the previous year, though 
some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes. (See table A.)

Hawaii and North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rates in 2017, 2.4 percent and 2.6 percent, 
respectively. Alaska had the highest jobless rate, 7.2 percent, followed by New Mexico, 6.2 
percent. The District of Columbia had a rate of 6.1 percent. Overall, 20 states had unemployment 
rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 4.4 percent, 12 states and the District had 
higher rates, and 18 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation. 
Seven states recorded the lowest unemployment rates in their series in 2017: Arkansas (3.7 percent), 
California (4.8 percent), Hawaii (2.4 percent), Maine (3.3 percent), North Dakota (2.6 percent), 
Oregon (4.1 percent), and Tennessee (3.7 percent). (See table B.)

Regional Employment-Population Ratios

In 2017, two census regions had statistically significant changes in their employment-population 
ratios--the proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and over who 
are employed--both of which were increases. These occurred in the West (+0.6 percentage point) and 
South (+0.5 point). The Midwest had the highest ratio, 62.3 percent, while the South, at 58.8 
percent, had the lowest. These two regions had the only ratios that were notably different from 
the national figure of 60.1 percent. (See table 2.)

Four of the 9 geographic divisions had increases in their employment-population ratios from 2016 
to 2017: the East South Central and South Atlantic (+0.7 percentage point each) and the Mountain 
and Pacific (+0.6 point each). The remaining five divisions experienced little or no change in 
their ratios. The division with the highest employment-population ratio in 2017 was the West North 
Central, 65.2 percent, followed by New England, 63.2 percent. These two divisions, along with the 
Mountain and East North Central, at 61.2 percent and 61.1 percent, respectively, had employment-
population ratios significantly above that of the U.S. The East South Central had the lowest 
proportion of employed persons, 55.9 percent. The ratios in the Middle Atlantic (59.0 percent) 
and South Atlantic (59.2 percent) also were appreciably below the national average.

State Employment-Population Ratios

In 2017, the largest employment-population ratio increase among the states occurred in Colorado 
(+1.3 percentage points), followed by Georgia and Tennessee (+1.1 points each). Nine other states 
also had significant increases in their ratios. Two states had over-the-year decreases in their 
employment-population ratios: Nebraska (-0.5 percentage point) and New Hampshire (-0.4 point). The 
remaining 36 states and the District of Columbia had ratios that were not appreciably different 
from those of the previous year, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically 
as the significant changes. (See table C.)

North Dakota had the highest proportion of employed persons, 69.6 percent in 2017. The next highest 
ratios were in Minnesota, 67.8 percent, and Utah, 67.2 percent. West Virginia had the lowest 
employment-population ratio among the states, 50.5 percent. (West Virginia has had the lowest 
employment-population ratio each year since the series began in 1976.) Overall, 24 states and the 
District of Columbia had employment-population ratios significantly higher than the U.S. ratio of 
60.1 percent and 16 states had ratios that were below it. Alaska had the lowest employment-population
ratio in its series, 61.6 percent. (See table D.)

_____________
The State Employment and Unemployment news release for January 2018 is scheduled to be released 
on Monday, March 12, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT). The Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment 
news release for January 2018 is scheduled to be released on Friday, March 16, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. 
(EDT).


Table A.  States with statistically significant unemployment rate changes, 
2016-17 annual averages
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                |          Rate           |               
                                |-------------------------| Over-the-year 
             State              |            |            |  rate change  
                                |    2016    |    2017    |               
--------------------------------|------------|------------|---------------
Alabama ........................|     5.9    |     4.4    |      -1.5
Arizona ........................|     5.4    |     4.9    |       -.5
California .....................|     5.5    |     4.8    |       -.7
Colorado .......................|     3.3    |     2.8    |       -.5
Florida ........................|     4.8    |     4.2    |       -.6
Georgia ........................|     5.4    |     4.7    |       -.7
Hawaii .........................|     2.9    |     2.4    |       -.5
Idaho ..........................|     3.8    |     3.2    |       -.6
Illinois .......................|     5.8    |     5.0    |       -.8
Indiana ........................|     4.4    |     3.5    |       -.9
                                |            |            |
Iowa ...........................|     3.6    |     3.1    |       -.5
Kansas .........................|     4.0    |     3.6    |       -.4
Louisiana ......................|     6.0    |     5.1    |       -.9
Maine ..........................|     3.8    |     3.3    |       -.5
Minnesota ......................|     3.9    |     3.5    |       -.4
Mississippi ....................|     5.8    |     5.1    |       -.7
Missouri .......................|     4.6    |     3.8    |       -.8
Nevada .........................|     5.7    |     5.0    |       -.7
New Mexico .....................|     6.7    |     6.2    |       -.5
North Carolina .................|     5.1    |     4.6    |       -.5
                                |            |            |
North Dakota ...................|     3.1    |     2.6    |       -.5
Oklahoma .......................|     4.8    |     4.3    |       -.5
Oregon .........................|     4.8    |     4.1    |       -.7
Pennsylvania ...................|     5.4    |     4.9    |       -.5
Rhode Island ...................|     5.2    |     4.5    |       -.7
South Carolina .................|     5.0    |     4.3    |       -.7
Tennessee ......................|     4.7    |     3.7    |      -1.0
Texas ..........................|     4.6    |     4.3    |       -.3
Washington .....................|     5.3    |     4.8    |       -.5
West Virginia ..................|     6.1    |     5.2    |       -.9
Wisconsin ......................|     4.0    |     3.3    |       -.7
Wyoming ........................|     5.3    |     4.2    |      -1.1
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Table B.  States with unemployment rates significantly different
from that of the U.S., 2017 annual averages
--------------------------------------------------------------
                State                |          Rate
--------------------------------------------------------------
United States .......................|           4.4
                                     |
Alaska ..............................|           7.2
Arizona .............................|           4.9
Arkansas ............................|           3.7
California ..........................|           4.8
Colorado ............................|           2.8
District of Columbia ................|           6.1
Hawaii ..............................|           2.4
Idaho ...............................|           3.2
Illinois ............................|           5.0
Indiana .............................|           3.5
                                     |
Iowa ................................|           3.1
Kansas ..............................|           3.6
Louisiana ...........................|           5.1
Maine ...............................|           3.3
Massachusetts .......................|           3.7
Minnesota ...........................|           3.5
Mississippi .........................|           5.1
Missouri ............................|           3.8
Nebraska ............................|           2.9
Nevada ..............................|           5.0
                                     |
New Hampshire .......................|           2.7
New Mexico ..........................|           6.2
New York ............................|           4.7
North Dakota ........................|           2.6
Ohio ................................|           5.0
Pennsylvania ........................|           4.9
South Dakota ........................|           3.3
Tennessee ...........................|           3.7
Utah ................................|           3.2
Vermont .............................|           3.0
                                     |
Virginia ............................|           3.8
West Virginia .......................|           5.2
Wisconsin ...........................|           3.3
--------------------------------------------------------------


Table C.  States with statistically significant employment-population 
ratio changes, 2016-17 annual averages
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                |          Ratio          |               
                                |-------------------------| Over-the-year 
             State              |            |            | ratio change  
                                |    2016    |    2017    |               
--------------------------------|------------|------------|---------------
Alabama ........................|    53.7    |    54.1    |       0.4
Arizona ........................|    57.0    |    57.7    |        .7
California .....................|    58.8    |    59.4    |        .6
Colorado .......................|    64.9    |    66.2    |       1.3
Florida ........................|    56.3    |    57.1    |        .8
Georgia ........................|    59.1    |    60.2    |       1.1
Kentucky .......................|    55.2    |    56.2    |       1.0
Maryland .......................|    64.2    |    64.8    |        .6
Nebraska .......................|    67.2    |    66.7    |       -.5
New Hampshire ..................|    66.5    |    66.1    |       -.4
                                |            |            |
Oregon .........................|    59.6    |    60.6    |       1.0
Tennessee ......................|    57.3    |    58.4    |       1.1
Utah ...........................|    66.5    |    67.2    |        .7
Washington .....................|    60.2    |    60.9    |        .7
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Table D.  States with employment-population ratios significantly
different from that of the U.S., 2017 annual averages
----------------------------------------------------------------
                State                |          Ratio          
----------------------------------------------------------------
United States .......................|           60.1
                                     |
Alabama .............................|           54.1
Alaska ..............................|           61.6
Arizona .............................|           57.7
Arkansas ............................|           56.1
California ..........................|           59.4
Colorado ............................|           66.2
Connecticut .........................|           63.3
District of Columbia ................|           66.1
Florida .............................|           57.1
Idaho ...............................|           62.0
                                     |
Illinois ............................|           61.3
Indiana .............................|           61.8
Iowa ................................|           66.2
Kansas ..............................|           64.2
Kentucky ............................|           56.2
Louisiana ...........................|           55.7
Maine ...............................|           61.5
Maryland ............................|           64.8
Massachusetts .......................|           63.1
Michigan ............................|           58.6
                                     |
Minnesota ...........................|           67.8
Mississippi .........................|           53.1
Missouri ............................|           61.4
Nebraska ............................|           66.7
New Hampshire .......................|           66.1
New Mexico ..........................|           53.9
New York ............................|           58.0
North Carolina ......................|           58.7
North Dakota ........................|           69.6
Oklahoma ............................|           58.6
                                     |
Rhode Island ........................|           61.5
South Carolina ......................|           56.1
South Dakota ........................|           66.7
Tennessee ...........................|           58.4
Texas ...............................|           61.0
Utah ................................|           67.2
Vermont .............................|           64.9
Virginia ............................|           62.8
West Virginia .......................|           50.5
Wisconsin ...........................|           66.4
Wyoming .............................|           62.7
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Last Modified Date: February 27, 2018