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Economic News Release
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Regional and State Unemployment, 2019 Annual Average Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Wednesday, March 4, 2020				  USDL-20-0377

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


		      REGIONAL AND STATE UNEMPLOYMENT -- 2019 ANNUAL AVERAGES


In 2019, annual average unemployment rates decreased in 10 states, increased in 1 state, and
were little changed in 39 states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Bureau of Labor 
Statistics reported today. Employment-population ratios increased in 16 states, decreased in
2 states, and were little changed in 32 states and the District. The U.S. jobless rate 
declined by 0.2 percentage point from the prior year to 3.7 percent, and the national 
employment-population ratio rose by 0.4 point to 60.8 percent.

Regional Unemployment

Three of the 4 census regions had unemployment rate decreases from 2018: the Northeast and
South (-0.3 percentage point each) and West (-0.2 point). The South had the lowest jobless
rate among the regions, 3.5 percent in 2019, while the West had the highest rate, 3.9 
percent. No other region had a rate significantly different from that of the United States.
In 2019, three regions recorded new series-low unemployment rates: the Northeast (3.7
percent), South (3.5 percent), and West (3.9 percent). All region, division, and state 
series begin in 1976. (See table 1.)

Five of the 9 geographic divisions had over-the-year unemployment rate changes in 2019, all
of which were decreases. These declines occurred in New England and the South Atlantic 
(-0.4 percentage point each) and the Mountain, Pacific, and West South Central (-0.3 point 
each). The lowest jobless rates among the divisions were in New England and the West North 
Central, 3.1 percent each, followed by the South Atlantic, 3.3 percent. The highest rates 
were in the Middle Atlantic and Pacific, 4.0 percent each. The remaining four divisions had
rates that were not significantly different from that of the United States. Five divisions
recorded new series-low unemployment rates in 2019: the East South Central (3.8 percent),
Middle Atlantic (4.0 percent), Pacific (4.0 percent), South Atlantic (3.3 percent), and 
West South Central (3.6 percent).

State Unemployment

Ten states had significant unemployment rate decreases in 2019, the largest of which
occurred in Alabama (-0.9 percentage point) and South Carolina (-0.7 point). Mississippi
had the only over-the-year rate increase (+0.6 percentage point). The remaining 39 states
and the District of Columbia had annual average jobless rates in 2019 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.)

North Dakota and Vermont had the lowest unemployment rates in 2019, 2.4 percent each. Alaska
had the highest jobless rate, 6.1 percent. Overall, 17 states had unemployment rates 
significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 3.7 percent, 11 states and the District of 
Columbia had higher rates, and 22 states had rates that were not substantially different from
that of the nation. Eighteen states newly recorded the lowest annual average unemployment
rates in their respective series in 2019: Alabama (3.0 percent), Alaska (6.1 percent),
Arkansas (3.5 percent), California (4.0 percent), Florida (3.1 percent), Georgia (3.4 percent),
Illinois (4.0 percent), Maine (3.0 percent), Nevada (3.9 percent), New Jersey (3.6 percent), 
New York (4.0 percent), North Dakota (2.4 percent), Oregon (3.7 percent), South Carolina (2.8 
percent), Tennessee (3.4 percent), Texas (3.5 percent), Vermont (2.4 percent), and Washington
(4.3 percent). (See table B.)

Regional Employment-Population Ratios

In 2019, three census regions had significant changes in their employment-population ratio--
the proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and over who are 
employed--all of which were increases. These increases occurred in the Northeast (+0.5 
percentage point) and South and West (+0.4 point each). The Midwest had the highest ratio,
62.7 percent, while the South, at 59.6 percent, had the lowest. These two regions had the only
ratios that were notably different from the national figure of 60.8 percent. (See table 2.)

Four of the 9 geographic divisions had increases in their employment-population ratios from
2018 to 2019: the East South Central (+0.7 percentage point), Mountain (+0.6 point), Middle 
Atlantic (+0.5 point), and South Atlantic (+0.4 point). The remaining five divisions had 
little or no change in their ratios over the year. The division with the highest employment-
population ratio in 2019 was the West North Central, 65.8 percent, followed by New England, 
64.7 percent. These two divisions, along with the Mountain and East North Central, at 62.3 
percent and 61.3 percent, respectively, had employment-population ratios significantly above 
that of the United States. The East South Central had the lowest proportion of employed 
persons, 57.2 percent. The Middle Atlantic, at 59.6 percent, South Atlantic, at 59.8 percent,
and Pacific, at 60.2 percent, also had ratios appreciably below the national average of 60.8
percent.

State Employment-Population Ratios

In 2019, the largest employment-population ratio increase among the states occurred in Iowa 
(+1.5 percentage points), followed by West Virginia (+1.2 points) and New Jersey and Tennessee 
(+1.1 points each). Twelve other states also had significant increases in their ratios. Hawaii
and Wisconsin were the only states with over-the-year decreases in their employment-population
ratios (-0.9 percentage point and -0.8 point, respectively). The remaining 32 states and the 
District of Columbia had ratios that were not notably 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.)

Iowa had the highest proportion of employed persons in 2019, 68.5 percent, followed by
Minnesota, 68.0 percent. West Virginia and Mississippi had the lowest employment-population 
ratios among the states, 52.4 percent and 52.8 percent, respectively. Overall, 22 states and
the District of Columbia had employment-population ratios significantly higher than the U.S. 
ratio of 60.8 percent and 17 states had ratios that were appreciably below it. Alaska had the
lowest employment-population ratio in its series (59.9 percent). (See table D.)

_____________
The State Employment and Unemployment news release for January 2020 is scheduled to be 
released on Monday, March 16, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT). The Metropolitan Area Employment and
Unemployment news release for January 2020 is scheduled to be released on Friday, March 20, 
2020, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).



Table A.  States with statistically significant unemployment rate changes, 
2018-19 annual averages
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                |          Rate           |               
                                |-------------------------| Over-the-year 
             State              |            |            |  rate change  
                                |    2018    |    2019    |               
--------------------------------|------------|------------|---------------
Alabama ........................|     3.9    |     3.0    |      -0.9
Colorado .......................|     3.2    |     2.8    |       -.4
Florida ........................|     3.6    |     3.1    |       -.5
Georgia ........................|     3.9    |     3.4    |       -.5
Massachusetts ..................|     3.4    |     2.9    |       -.5
Mississippi ....................|     4.8    |     5.4    |        .6
Nevada .........................|     4.4    |     3.9    |       -.5
New Jersey .....................|     4.1    |     3.6    |       -.5
South Carolina .................|     3.5    |     2.8    |       -.7
Texas ..........................|     3.8    |     3.5    |       -.3
Utah ...........................|     3.0    |     2.6    |       -.4
--------------------------------------------------------------------------



Table B.  States with unemployment rates significantly differ-
ent from that of the U.S., 2019 annual averages
--------------------------------------------------------------
                State                |          Rate
--------------------------------------------------------------
United States .......................|           3.7
                                     |              
Alabama .............................|           3.0
Alaska ..............................|           6.1
Arizona .............................|           4.7
California ..........................|           4.0
Colorado ............................|           2.8
District of Columbia ................|           5.5
Florida .............................|           3.1
Hawaii ..............................|           2.7
Idaho ...............................|           2.9
Iowa ................................|           2.7
                                     |              
Kansas ..............................|           3.2
Kentucky ............................|           4.3
Louisiana ...........................|           4.8
Maine ...............................|           3.0
Massachusetts .......................|           2.9
Minnesota ...........................|           3.2
Mississippi .........................|           5.4
Nebraska ............................|           3.0
New Hampshire .......................|           2.5
New Mexico ..........................|           4.9
                                     |              
North Dakota ........................|           2.4
Ohio ................................|           4.1
Pennsylvania ........................|           4.4
South Carolina ......................|           2.8
Utah ................................|           2.6
Vermont .............................|           2.4
Virginia ............................|           2.8
Washington ..........................|           4.3
West Virginia .......................|           4.9
--------------------------------------------------------------



Table C.  States with statistically significant employment-population 
ratio changes, 2018-19 annual averages
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                |          Ratio          |               
                                |-------------------------| Over-the-year 
             State              |            |            | ratio change  
                                |    2018    |    2019    |               
--------------------------------|------------|------------|---------------
Alabama ........................|    55.4    |    56.3    |       0.9
Arizona ........................|    58.2    |    59.2    |       1.0
California .....................|    59.6    |    59.9    |        .3
Florida ........................|    57.1    |    57.5    |        .4
Hawaii .........................|    60.2    |    59.3    |       -.9
Iowa ...........................|    67.0    |    68.5    |       1.5
Maryland .......................|    65.2    |    66.0    |        .8
Massachusetts ..................|    65.2    |    65.8    |        .6
Nevada .........................|    60.5    |    61.1    |        .6
New Jersey .....................|    60.2    |    61.3    |       1.1
                                |            |            |          
New Mexico .....................|    54.7    |    55.4    |        .7
North Carolina .................|    58.8    |    59.2    |        .4
Pennsylvania ...................|    59.9    |    60.4    |        .5
Tennessee ......................|    59.0    |    60.1    |       1.1
Virginia .......................|    63.5    |    64.3    |        .8
Washington .....................|    61.3    |    62.3    |       1.0
West Virginia ..................|    51.2    |    52.4    |       1.2
Wisconsin ......................|    65.6    |    64.8    |       -.8
--------------------------------------------------------------------------



Table D.  States with employment-population ratios significantly
different from that of the U.S., 2019 annual averages
----------------------------------------------------------------
                State                |          Ratio          
----------------------------------------------------------------
United States .......................|           60.8
                                     |               
Alabama .............................|           56.3
Arizona .............................|           59.2
Arkansas ............................|           56.1
California ..........................|           59.9
Colorado ............................|           67.4
Connecticut .........................|           63.9
District of Columbia ................|           67.1
Florida .............................|           57.5
Hawaii ..............................|           59.3
Idaho ...............................|           62.6
                                     |               
Illinois ............................|           61.9
Indiana .............................|           62.4
Iowa ................................|           68.5
Kansas ..............................|           64.6
Kentucky ............................|           56.8
Louisiana ...........................|           55.8
Maryland ............................|           66.0
Massachusetts .......................|           65.8
Michigan ............................|           59.2
Minnesota ...........................|           68.0
                                     |               
Mississippi .........................|           52.8
Missouri ............................|           62.0
Nebraska ............................|           67.8
New Hampshire .......................|           67.3
New Mexico ..........................|           55.4
New York ............................|           58.4
North Carolina ......................|           59.2
North Dakota ........................|           67.6
Oklahoma ............................|           58.8
Oregon ..............................|           59.4
                                     |               
South Carolina ......................|           56.8
South Dakota ........................|           66.7
Texas ...............................|           61.8
Utah ................................|           66.6
Vermont .............................|           64.5
Virginia ............................|           64.3
Washington ..........................|           62.3
West Virginia .......................|           52.4
Wisconsin ...........................|           64.8
Wyoming .............................|           62.6
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Last Modified Date: March 04, 2020