In 1998, the national unemployment rate—based on annual averages—was 4.5 percent. The Midwest maintained the lowest jobless rate (3.7 percent) of any region for the eighth year in a row, as every State in the Midwest had a rate of 4.5 percent of less. The West region, where only Colorado and Utah had rates below 4.0 percent, reported the highest unemployment rate (5.4 percent) for the seventh straight year.
All four of the nation’s broad regions (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West) and eight of their nine geographic divisions experienced unemployment rate declines in 1998. The Northeast and South experienced the largest declines over the year, -0.7 percentage point and –0.5 percentage point, respectively.
The Midwest’s West North Central division (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) had the lowest unemployment rate of any division (3.3 percent), as it has the past 9 years. The West's Pacific division (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington) posted the highest jobless rate at 5.7 percent.
These data are a product of the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. More information can be found in news release USDL 99-46, "State and Regional Unemployment, 1998 Annual Averages." Year-to-year comparisons are based on changes in annual average unemployment rates for 1998. For this story, the regional definitions of the Census Bureau, which divide the country into four regions and nine component geographic divisions, were used.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Midwest jobless rate lowest for eighth straight year at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/mar/wk1/art02.htm (visited December 10, 2023).