Regional and State Unemployment, 2016 Annual Average Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Tuesday, February 28, 2017			   USDL-17-0286

Technical information:	(202) 691-6392  *  lausinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/lau
Media contact:	        (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


                REGIONAL AND STATE UNEMPLOYMENT -- 2016 ANNUAL AVERAGES


Annual average unemployment rates decreased in 38 states and the District of 
Columbia, increased in 9 states, and were unchanged in 3 states in 2016, the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment-population ratios
increased in 36 states and the District, decreased in 12 states, and were 
unchanged in 2 states. The U.S. jobless rate declined by 0.4 percentage point
from the prior year to 4.9 percent, and the national employment-population ratio
rose by 0.4 point to 59.7 percent.

Regional Unemployment

All four regions had statistically significant unemployment rate decreases from
2015: the West (-0.6 percentage point), Northeast (-0.5 point), South (-0.4 point),
and Midwest (-0.1 point). The Midwest, at 4.7 percent, had the only jobless rate
significantly lower than that of the U.S. in 2016, while the West, at 5.1 percent,
had the only rate significantly above the national figure. (See table 1.)

Six of the 9 geographic divisions had statistically significant over-the-year
unemployment rate changes in 2016, all of which were declines. The largest of these
occurred in New England (-0.8 percentage point) and the Pacific and South Atlantic
(-0.7 point each). The West North Central had the lowest jobless rate among the
divisions, 3.9 percent. New England, at 4.1 percent, and the Mountain division, at
4.6 percent, also had rates significantly below the U.S. average. The East South
Central and Pacific, at 5.3 percent each, had unemployment rates that were measurably
higher than that of the U.S.

State Unemployment

Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia had statistically significant
unemployment rate decreases in 2016. The largest declines occurred in Massachusetts
and South Carolina (-1.2 percentage points each), closely followed by Arkansas and
Nevada (-1.1 points each). Three states had significant over-the-year rate increases:
Wyoming (+1.1 percentage points), Oklahoma (+0.5 point), and North Dakota (+0.4 point).
The remaining 20 states had annual average jobless rates in 2016 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.)

New Hampshire and South Dakota had the lowest unemployment rates, 2.8 percent each
in 2016. New Mexico and Alaska had the highest jobless rates, 6.7 percent and 6.6
percent, respectively. Overall, 19 states had unemployment rates that were
significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 4.9 percent, while 12 states and the
District of Columbia had rates measurably above it. Arkansas had the lowest unemployment
rate in its series in 2016, 4.0 percent, while Oregon matched its series low of 4.9
percent, last recorded in 1995. (All region, division, and state series begin in 1976. See
table B.)

Regional Employment-Population Ratios

In 2016, three 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--all of which were increases. These occurred in the
West (+0.5 percentage point) and the Midwest and South (+0.4 point each). The Midwest
had the highest ratio, 62.2 percent, while the South, at 58.3 percent, had the lowest.
These two regions had the only ratios that were significantly different from the
national figure of 59.7 percent. (See table 2.)

Among the nine geographic divisions, all of the significant changes in employment-
population ratios from 2015 to 2016 were increases: the East South Central (+0.7 
percentage point) and the East North Central, Pacific, and South Atlantic (+0.6 
point each). The division with the highest employment-population ratio in 2016 was
the West North Central, at 65.4 percent, followed by New England, at 62.7 percent.
These two divisions, along with the East North Central and Mountain, at 60.8 percent
and 60.5 percent, respectively, had employment-population ratios measurably above
that of the U.S. The East South Central had the lowest proportion of employed persons,
55.0 percent. The ratios in the South Atlantic (58.6 percent), Middle Atlantic
(59.0 percent), and Pacific (59.2 percent) also were appreciably below the national
average.

State Employment-Population Ratios

In 2016, the largest employment-population ratio increases among the states occurred
in Oregon (+1.5 percentage points) and Georgia (+1.1 points). Twelve other states also
had statistically significant increases in their ratios. Three states had significant
over-the-year decreases in their employment-population ratios: Louisiana and Wyoming
(-1.2 percentage points each) and Nebraska (-0.4 point). (See table C.)

North Dakota had the highest proportion of employed persons, 69.2 percent in 2016.
Four other states in the West North Central division had the next highest ratios:
Nebraska, 67.3 percent; Iowa and South Dakota, 67.0 percent each; and Minnesota, 66.8
percent. West Virginia had the lowest employment-population ratio among the states,
50.0 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 that were significantly above the U.S. ratio of 59.7
percent and 16 states had ratios that were appreciably below it. Alaska and New
Mexico, at 61.7 percent and 53.7 percent, respectively, had the lowest employment-
population ratios in their series in 2016. (See table D.)

_____________
The State Employment and Unemployment news release for January 2017 is scheduled
to be released on Monday, March 13, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT). The Metropolitan
Area Employment and Unemployment news release for January 2017 is scheduled to be
released on Friday, March 17, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).



Table A.  States with statistically significant unemployment rate changes, 
2015-16 annual averages
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                |          Rate           |               
                                |-------------------------| Over-the-year 
             State              |            |            |  rate change  
                                |    2015    |    2016    |               
--------------------------------|------------|------------|---------------
Arizona ........................|     6.0    |     5.3    |      -0.7
Arkansas .......................|     5.1    |     4.0    |      -1.1
California .....................|     6.2    |     5.4    |       -.8
Colorado .......................|     3.9    |     3.3    |       -.6
Connecticut ....................|     5.7    |     5.1    |       -.6
District of Columbia ...........|     6.9    |     6.0    |       -.9
Florida ........................|     5.4    |     4.9    |       -.5
Georgia ........................|     6.0    |     5.4    |       -.6
Hawaii .........................|     3.6    |     3.0    |       -.6
Idaho ..........................|     4.2    |     3.8    |       -.4
                                |            |            |
Maine ..........................|     4.4    |     3.9    |       -.5
Maryland .......................|     5.1    |     4.3    |       -.8
Massachusetts ..................|     4.9    |     3.7    |      -1.2
Michigan .......................|     5.4    |     4.9    |       -.5
Mississippi ....................|     6.4    |     5.8    |       -.6
Missouri .......................|     5.0    |     4.5    |       -.5
Nevada .........................|     6.8    |     5.7    |      -1.1
New Hampshire ..................|     3.4    |     2.8    |       -.6
New Jersey .....................|     5.8    |     5.0    |       -.8
New York .......................|     5.3    |     4.8    |       -.5
                                |            |            |
North Carolina .................|     5.8    |     5.1    |       -.7
North Dakota ...................|     2.8    |     3.2    |        .4
Oklahoma .......................|     4.4    |     4.9    |        .5
Oregon .........................|     5.6    |     4.9    |       -.7
Rhode Island ...................|     6.0    |     5.3    |       -.7
South Carolina .................|     6.0    |     4.8    |      -1.2
Tennessee ......................|     5.6    |     4.8    |       -.8
Vermont ........................|     3.6    |     3.3    |       -.3
Virginia .......................|     4.5    |     4.0    |       -.5
West Virginia ..................|     6.8    |     6.0    |       -.8
Wyoming ........................|     4.2    |     5.3    |       1.1
--------------------------------------------------------------------------



Table B.  States with unemployment rates significantly differ-
ent from that of the U.S., 2016 annual averages
--------------------------------------------------------------
                State                |          Rate
--------------------------------------------------------------
United States .......................|           4.9
                                     |
Alabama .............................|           6.0
Alaska ..............................|           6.6
Arkansas ............................|           4.0
California ..........................|           5.4
Colorado ............................|           3.3
District of Columbia ................|           6.0
Georgia .............................|           5.4
Hawaii ..............................|           3.0
Idaho ...............................|           3.8
Illinois ............................|           5.9
                                     |
Iowa ................................|           3.7
Kansas ..............................|           4.2
Louisiana ...........................|           6.1
Maine ...............................|           3.9
Maryland ............................|           4.3
Massachusetts .......................|           3.7
Minnesota ...........................|           3.9
Mississippi .........................|           5.8
Montana .............................|           4.1
Nebraska ............................|           3.2
                                     |
Nevada ..............................|           5.7
New Hampshire .......................|           2.8
New Mexico ..........................|           6.7
North Dakota ........................|           3.2
Pennsylvania ........................|           5.4
South Dakota ........................|           2.8
Utah ................................|           3.4
Vermont .............................|           3.3
Virginia ............................|           4.0
Washington ..........................|           5.4
West Virginia .......................|           6.0
Wisconsin ...........................|           4.1
--------------------------------------------------------------



Table C.  States with statistically significant employment-population 
ratio changes, 2015-16 annual averages
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                |          Ratio          |               
                                |-------------------------| Over-the-year 
             State              |            |            | ratio change  
                                |    2015    |    2016    |               
--------------------------------|------------|------------|---------------
Arkansas .......................|    55.1    |    55.8    |       0.7
California .....................|    58.3    |    58.9    |        .6
Florida ........................|    55.8    |    56.3    |        .5
Georgia ........................|    57.9    |    59.0    |       1.1
Hawaii .........................|    59.8    |    60.8    |       1.0
Indiana ........................|    60.8    |    61.8    |       1.0
Louisiana ......................|    56.7    |    55.5    |      -1.2
Maryland .......................|    63.5    |    64.2    |        .7
Michigan .......................|    57.2    |    58.2    |       1.0
Nebraska .......................|    67.7    |    67.3    |       -.4
                                |            |            |
New Hampshire ..................|    66.2    |    66.7    |        .5
North Carolina .................|    57.7    |    58.7    |       1.0
Oregon .........................|    58.0    |    59.5    |       1.5
South Carolina .................|    55.8    |    56.3    |        .5
Tennessee ......................|    56.2    |    57.2    |       1.0
Washington .....................|    59.6    |    60.2    |        .6
Wyoming ........................|    64.7    |    63.5    |      -1.2
--------------------------------------------------------------------------



Table D.  States with employment-population ratios significantly
different from that of the U.S., 2016 annual averages
----------------------------------------------------------------
                State                |          Ratio          
----------------------------------------------------------------
United States .......................|           59.7
                                     |
Alabama .............................|           53.4
Alaska ..............................|           61.7
Arizona .............................|           57.1
Arkansas ............................|           55.8
California ..........................|           58.9
Colorado ............................|           64.7
Connecticut .........................|           62.6
District of Columbia ................|           65.9
Florida .............................|           56.3
Idaho ...............................|           61.5
                                     |
Illinois ............................|           61.4
Indiana .............................|           61.8
Iowa ................................|           67.0
Kansas ..............................|           64.3
Kentucky ............................|           54.7
Louisiana ...........................|           55.5
Maryland ............................|           64.2
Massachusetts .......................|           62.5
Michigan ............................|           58.2
Minnesota ...........................|           66.8
                                     |
Mississippi .........................|           52.8
Missouri ............................|           62.4
Montana .............................|           61.2
Nebraska ............................|           67.3
New Hampshire .......................|           66.7
New Mexico ..........................|           53.7
New York ............................|           57.7
North Carolina ......................|           58.7
North Dakota ........................|           69.2
Oklahoma ............................|           58.2
                                     |
Rhode Island ........................|           61.0
South Carolina ......................|           56.3
South Dakota ........................|           67.0
Tennessee ...........................|           57.2
Texas ...............................|           60.7
Utah ................................|           66.4
Vermont .............................|           64.8
Virginia ............................|           62.2
West Virginia .......................|           50.0
Wisconsin ...........................|           65.4
Wyoming .............................|           63.5
----------------------------------------------------------------



The PDF version of the news release

Table of Contents

Last Modified Date: February 28, 2017