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Economic News Release
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Regional and State Unemployment, 2018 Annual Average Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Thursday, February 28, 2019		USDL-19-0327

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


	  REGIONAL AND STATE UNEMPLOYMENT -- 2018 ANNUAL AVERAGES


In 2018, annual average unemployment rates decreased in 25 states,
increased in 1 state, and were little changed or unchanged in 24
states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics reported today. Employment-population ratios increased
in 9 states, decreased in 1 state, and were little changed or
unchanged in 40 states and the District. The U.S. jobless rate
declined by 0.5 percentage point from the prior year to 3.9 percent,
and the national employment-population ratio rose by 0.3 point
to 60.4 percent.

Regional Unemployment

All four census regions had unemployment rate decreases from 2017:
the Northeast and South (-0.5 percentage point each), Midwest
(-0.4 point), and West (-0.3 point). The Midwest had the lowest
jobless rate, 3.7 percent in 2018, while the West had the highest
rate, 4.2 percent. No other region had a rate significantly different
from that of the United States. In 2018, the unemployment rates in
the South (3.8 percent) and West (4.2 percent) were the lowest in
their respective series. All region, division, and state series begin
in 1976. (See table 1.)

Eight of the 9 geographic divisions had over-the-year unemployment
rate changes in 2018, all of which were decreases. The largest of
these declines occurred in the South Atlantic (-0.6 percentage point).
The lowest jobless rate was in the West North Central, 3.0 percent,
followed by the New England and South Atlantic divisions, 3.5 percent
and 3.7 percent, respectively. The highest rates were in the Middle
Atlantic and Pacific, 4.2 percent each. The remaining four divisions
had rates that were not significantly different from that of the United
States. Three divisions recorded new series-low unemployment rates in
2018: the East South Central (4.0 percent), Pacific (4.2 percent), and
West South Central (3.9 percent).

State Unemployment

Twenty-five states had statistically significant unemployment rate
decreases in 2018, the largest of which occurred in New Mexico (-1.0
percentage point). Colorado had the only over-the-year rate increase
(+0.6 percentage point). The remaining 24 states and the District of
Columbia had annual average jobless rates in 2018 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 had the lowest unemployment rate in 2018, 2.4 percent, followed
by Iowa and New Hampshire, 2.5 percent each. Alaska had the highest
jobless rate, 6.6 percent. Overall, 20 states had unemployment rates
significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 3.9 percent, 12 states
and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 18 states had rates
that were not substantially different from that of the nation. Fourteen
states newly recorded the lowest annual average unemployment rates in
their respective series in 2018: Alabama (3.9 percent), California
(4.2 percent), Idaho (2.8 percent), Iowa (2.5 percent), Mississippi
(4.8 percent), Missouri (3.2 percent), New York (4.1 percent), North
Dakota (2.6 percent), South Carolina (3.4 percent), Tennessee (3.5
percent), Texas (3.9 percent), Vermont (2.7 percent), Washington 
(4.5 percent), and Wisconsin (3.0 percent). (See table B.)

Regional Employment-Population Ratios

In 2018, three 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--
all of which were increases. These increases occurred in the Northeast
(+0.5 percentage point), West (+0.4 point), and South (+0.3 point). The
Midwest had the highest ratio, 62.5 percent, while the South, at 59.2
percent, had the lowest. These two regions had the only ratios that
were notably different from the national figure of 60.4 percent. (See
table 2.)

Four of the 9 geographic divisions had increases in their employment-
population ratios from 2017 to 2018. The largest of these increases
was in New England (+1.0 percentage point), followed by the Mountain
(+0.5 point) and Pacific and West South Central (+0.4 point each).
The remaining five divisions had little or no change in their ratios
over the year. The division with the highest employment-population
ratio in 2018 was the West North Central, 65.3 percent, followed by
New England, 64.4 percent. These two divisions, along with the Mountain
and East North Central, at 61.7 percent and 61.2 percent, respectively,
had employment-population ratios significantly above that of the United
States. The East South Central had the lowest proportion of employed
persons, 56.4 percent. This division, along with the Middle Atlantic
and South Atlantic, at 59.2 percent and 59.3 percent, respectively, had
ratios appreciably below the national average of 60.4 percent.

State Employment-Population Ratios

In 2018, the largest employment-population ratio increase among the
states occurred in Massachusetts (+1.6 percentage points). Eight other
states also had significant increases in their ratios. North Dakota
was the only state with an over-the-year decrease in its employment-
population ratio (-1.2 percentage points). The remaining 40 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.)

Minnesota had the highest proportion of employed persons in 2018, 67.8
percent, followed by North Dakota and Nebraska, 67.7 percent and 67.3
percent, respectively. West Virginia had the lowest employment-population
ratio among the states, 51.0 percent. (West Virginia has had the lowest
ratio each year since the series began in 1976.) Overall, 22 states and
the District of Columbia had employment-population ratios significantly
higher than the U.S. ratio of 60.4 percent and 17 states had ratios that
were appreciably below it. Alaska and Wyoming each had the lowest
employment-population ratios in their series (60.9 percent and 62.1 percent,
respectively). (See table D.)

_____________
The State Employment and Unemployment news release for January 2019
is scheduled to be released on Monday, March 11, 2019, at 10:00 a.m.
(EDT). The Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment news release
for January 2019 is scheduled to be released on Friday, March 15, 2019,
at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).


Table A.  States with statistically significant unemployment rate changes, 
2017-18 annual averages
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                |          Rate           |               
                                |-------------------------| Over-the-year 
             State              |            |            |  rate change  
                                |    2017    |    2018    |               
--------------------------------|------------|------------|---------------
Alabama ........................|     4.4    |     3.9    |      -0.5
California .....................|     4.8    |     4.2    |       -.6
Colorado .......................|     2.7    |     3.3    |        .6
Connecticut ....................|     4.7    |     4.1    |       -.6
Delaware .......................|     4.5    |     3.8    |       -.7
Florida ........................|     4.2    |     3.6    |       -.6
Georgia ........................|     4.7    |     3.9    |       -.8
Idaho ..........................|     3.2    |     2.8    |       -.4
Illinois .......................|     4.9    |     4.3    |       -.6
Iowa ...........................|     3.1    |     2.5    |       -.6
                                |            |            |
Kentucky .......................|     4.9    |     4.3    |       -.6
Massachusetts ..................|     3.8    |     3.3    |       -.5
Michigan .......................|     4.6    |     4.1    |       -.5
Minnesota ......................|     3.4    |     2.9    |       -.5
Missouri .......................|     3.8    |     3.2    |       -.6
Nevada .........................|     5.1    |     4.6    |       -.5
New Jersey .....................|     4.6    |     4.1    |       -.5
New Mexico .....................|     5.9    |     4.9    |      -1.0
New York .......................|     4.7    |     4.1    |       -.6
North Carolina .................|     4.5    |     3.9    |       -.6
                                |            |            |
Oklahoma .......................|     4.2    |     3.4    |       -.8
Pennsylvania ...................|     4.9    |     4.3    |       -.6
South Carolina .................|     4.3    |     3.4    |       -.9
Texas ..........................|     4.3    |     3.9    |       -.4
Vermont ........................|     3.0    |     2.7    |       -.3
Virginia .......................|     3.7    |     3.0    |       -.7
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Table B.  States with unemployment rates significantly differ-
ent from that of the U.S., 2018 annual averages
--------------------------------------------------------------
                State                |          Rate
--------------------------------------------------------------
United States .......................|           3.9
                                     |
Alaska ..............................|           6.6
Arizona .............................|           4.8
California ..........................|           4.2
Colorado ............................|           3.3
District of Columbia ................|           5.6
Florida .............................|           3.6
Hawaii ..............................|           2.4
Idaho ...............................|           2.8
Illinois ............................|           4.3
Indiana .............................|           3.4
                                     |
Iowa ................................|           2.5
Kansas ..............................|           3.4
Louisiana ...........................|           4.9
Massachusetts .......................|           3.3
Minnesota ...........................|           2.9
Mississippi .........................|           4.8
Missouri ............................|           3.2
Nebraska ............................|           2.8
Nevada ..............................|           4.6
New Hampshire .......................|           2.5
                                     |
New Mexico ..........................|           4.9
North Dakota ........................|           2.6
Ohio ................................|           4.6
Oklahoma ............................|           3.4
Pennsylvania ........................|           4.3
South Carolina ......................|           3.4
South Dakota ........................|           3.0
Utah ................................|           3.1
Vermont .............................|           2.7
Virginia ............................|           3.0
                                     |
Washington ..........................|           4.5
West Virginia .......................|           5.3
Wisconsin ...........................|           3.0
--------------------------------------------------------------


Table C.  States with statistically significant employment-population 
ratio changes, 2017-18 annual averages
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                |          Ratio          |               
                                |-------------------------| Over-the-year 
             State              |            |            | ratio change  
                                |    2017    |    2018    |               
--------------------------------|------------|------------|---------------
Alabama ........................|    54.3    |    54.9    |       0.6
Arizona ........................|    57.6    |    58.4    |        .8
California .....................|    59.2    |    59.8    |        .6
Colorado .......................|    66.2    |    66.9    |        .7
Massachusetts ..................|    63.7    |    65.3    |       1.6
Nevada .........................|    59.5    |    60.1    |        .6
New Mexico .....................|    54.2    |    54.7    |        .5
New York .......................|    58.0    |    58.5    |        .5
North Dakota ...................|    68.9    |    67.7    |      -1.2
Texas ..........................|    61.1    |    61.5    |        .4
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


Table D.  States with employment-population ratios significantly
different from that of the U.S., 2018 annual averages
----------------------------------------------------------------
                State                |          Ratio          
----------------------------------------------------------------
United States .......................|           60.4
                                     |
Alabama .............................|           54.9
Arizona .............................|           58.4
Arkansas ............................|           55.7
California ..........................|           59.8
Colorado ............................|           66.9
Connecticut .........................|           63.4
District of Columbia ................|           66.5
Florida .............................|           57.3
Idaho ...............................|           62.3
Illinois ............................|           61.7
                                     |
Indiana .............................|           62.7
Iowa ................................|           66.7
Kansas ..............................|           64.5
Kentucky ............................|           56.5
Louisiana ...........................|           55.9
Maryland ............................|           64.6
Massachusetts .......................|           65.3
Michigan ............................|           58.8
Minnesota ...........................|           67.8
Mississippi .........................|           53.0
                                     |
Missouri ............................|           61.6
Nebraska ............................|           67.3
New Hampshire .......................|           66.6
New Mexico ..........................|           54.7
New York ............................|           58.5
North Carolina ......................|           58.8
North Dakota ........................|           67.7
Ohio ................................|           59.5
Oklahoma ............................|           59.1
Rhode Island ........................|           61.9
                                     |
South Carolina ......................|           56.0
South Dakota ........................|           66.6
Tennessee ...........................|           58.8
Texas ...............................|           61.5
Utah ................................|           66.1
Vermont .............................|           64.9
Virginia ............................|           63.2
West Virginia .......................|           51.0
Wisconsin ...........................|           65.9
Wyoming .............................|           62.1
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Last Modified Date: February 28, 2019