January 26, 2005
December 2004 unemployment rates were lower than a year earlier in 43 states, higher in 5 states and the District of Columbia, and unchanged in 2 states.
Kentucky and Washington reported the largest rate decreases from a year ago (-1.5 percentage points each), followed by Hawaii, New Jersey, and Oklahoma (-1.4 points each).
Nine additional states registered rate decreases of at least 1.0 percentage point. Twenty-three other states had decreases ranging from 0.5 to 0.9 percentage point, inclusive.
Mississippi reported the largest over-the-year unemployment rate increase (+0.8 percentage point). No other state had a rate increase greater than 0.4 percentage point. The District of Columbia posted an unemployment rate increase of 2.0 percentage points from December 2003 to December 2004.
These data come from the BLS Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. Data for December 2004 are preliminary and subject to revision. To learn more, see "Regional and State Employment and Unemployment: December 2004" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 05-109.