North Dakota had the highest employment–population ratio in 2015; West Virginia had the lowest

March 01, 2016

North Dakota had the highest employment–population ratio among the states in 2015, with 69.1 percent of the civilian working-age population employed. The four next-highest ratios were in Nebraska (68.0 percent), Minnesota (67.6 percent), Iowa (67.3 percent), and South Dakota (67.2 percent). West Virginia had the lowest employment–population ratio among the states (49.4 percent), as it has every year since this data series began in 1976.

Employment–population ratios by state, 2015 annual averages


64.8% and higher
 
61.3% to 64.7%
 
59.4% to 61.2%
 
56.7% to 59.3%
 
56.6% and lower
 
Hover over a state to see data.
Hover over legend items to see states in a category.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


The largest 2014–15 increases in the employment–population ratio occurred in Missouri (+1.7 percentage points) and Delaware (+1.5 points). Seventeen other states and the District of Columbia also had statistically significant increases in their ratios. Four states had significant over-the-year decreases in their employment–population ratios, the largest of which occurred in North Dakota (–1.6 percentage points).

The employment–population ratio for the nation as a whole was 59.3 percent in 2015. Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia had ratios that were significantly higher than the national average, while 17 states had ratios that were appreciably below it. Three states had employment–population ratios that were the lowest recorded since the series began in 1976: Alaska (62.7 percent), Kentucky (53.7 percent), and New Mexico (53.5 percent).

These data are from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. The employment–population ratio is the proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and over who are employed. To learn more, see “Regional and State Unemployment — 2015 Annual Averages” (HTML) (PDF).

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, North Dakota had the highest employment–population ratio in 2015; West Virginia had the lowest on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/north-dakota-had-the-highest-employment-population-ratio-in-2015-west-virginia-had-the-lowest.htm (visited June 18, 2019).