U-3 and U-6 unemployment by state, 2015

February 25, 2016

During 2015, the unemployment rate for the nation as a whole averaged 5.3 percent. In any month, this was the percentage of the labor force who were unemployed. People are counted as unemployed if they:

  • did not work for pay during the week that included the 12th
  • had actively looked for work during the preceding 4 weeks or were waiting to be called back from a temporary layoff
  • could have started a job if they had received an offer.

The annual average jobless rate varied by state. The states with the lowest unemployment rates, all under 4.0 percent in 2015, were North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Iowa, Utah, Vermont, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Colorado.

U-3 unemployment rate, by state, 2015 annual average


5.9 percent and higher
 
5.4 percent to 5.8 percent
 
4.9 percent to 5.3 percent
 
4.1 percent to 4.8 percent
 
4.0 percent 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.
U-3 unemployment rate, by state, 2015 annual average
State U-3

United States

5.3%

Alabama

6.1

Alaska

6.7

Arizona

6.0

Arkansas

5.2

California

6.2

Colorado

3.9

Connecticut

5.6

Delaware

5.0

District of Columbia

6.9

Florida

5.4

Georgia

5.8

Hawaii

3.7

Idaho

4.3

Illinois

5.9

Indiana

4.8

Iowa

3.6

Kansas

4.3

Kentucky

5.4

Louisiana

6.2

Maine

4.4

Maryland

5.2

Massachusetts

4.9

Michigan

5.4

Minnesota

3.8

Mississippi

6.5

Missouri

5.0

Montana

4.1

Nebraska

3.0

Nevada

6.9

New Hampshire

3.4

New Jersey

5.8

New Mexico

6.8

New York

5.3

North Carolina

5.9

North Dakota

2.7

Ohio

4.9

Oklahoma

4.3

Oregon

5.7

Pennsylvania

5.2

Rhode Island

5.9

South Carolina

5.9

South Dakota

3.5

Tennessee

5.7

Texas

4.4

Utah

3.6

Vermont

3.6

Virginia

4.5

Washington

5.6

West Virginia

6.9

Wisconsin

4.6

Wyoming

4.1

The highest unemployment rates during 2015 were in Nevada, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, New Mexico, Alaska, Mississippi, California, Louisiana, Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. All had rates of 5.9 percent or higher.

The unemployment rate is also known as U-3. In addition to U-3, BLS publishes an alternative measure of labor underutilization known as U-6. The U-6 measure includes

  • unemployed people from U-3
  • people who are "marginally attached" to the labor force, that is those who are neither working nor looking for work but want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months
  • people who work part time for economic reasons, who would have preferred full-time employment but were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they could not find a full-time job.

During 2015, the U-6 rate for the nation averaged 10.4 percent.

U-6 labor underutilization rate, by state, 2015 annual average


11.4 percent and higher
 
10.7 percent to 11.3 percent
 
9.6 percent to 10.6 percent
 
8.2 percent to 9.5 percent
 
8.1 percent 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.
U-6 labor underutilization rate, by state, 2015 annual average
State U-6

United States

10.4%

Alabama

11.2

Alaska

12.1

Arizona

12.8

Arkansas

9.5

California

12.7

Colorado

7.9

Connecticut

10.9

Delaware

9.6

District of Columbia

10.9

Florida

11.5

Georgia

11.1

Hawaii

9.7

Idaho

8.6

Illinois

10.9

Indiana

9.0

Iowa

7.0

Kansas

8.2

Kentucky

10.3

Louisiana

11.1

Maine

9.8

Maryland

9.3

Massachusetts

9.7

Michigan

11.4

Minnesota

8.2

Mississippi

11.7

Missouri

9.3

Montana

9.0

Nebraska

6.7

Nevada

13.9

New Hampshire

8.0

New Jersey

10.4

New Mexico

12.6

New York

10.6

North Carolina

11.3

North Dakota

5.3

Ohio

10.1

Oklahoma

8.0

Oregon

11.7

Pennsylvania

10.7

Rhode Island

11.4

South Carolina

11.4

South Dakota

6.3

Tennessee

10.7

Texas

8.4

Utah

7.5

Vermont

8.2

Virginia

9.8

Washington

11.0

West Virginia

12.4

Wisconsin

8.3

Wyoming

8.2

For the most part, states with U-3 rates lower than the national U-3 rate also had U-6 rates lower than the national U-6 rate. Similarly, states with high U-3 rates generally had high U-6 rates. 

The national U-6 rate (10.4 percent) was about 2 times the national U-3 rate (5.3 percent) in 2015. The lowest U-6 to U-3 ratios were in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Louisiana, New Jersey, West Virginia, Mississippi, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Alaska, and Arkansas. In these states the U-6 rate was less than 1.84 times the U-3 rate, indicating a relatively smaller number of marginally attached workers or people working part time for economic reasons.

U-6 to U-3 ratio, by state, 2015 annual average


U-6 rate is 2.10 or more × U-3 rate
 
U-6 rate is 2.00 to 2.09 × U-3 rate
 
U-6 rate is 1.90 to 1.99 × U-3 rate
 
U-6 rate is 1.84 to 1.89 × U-3 rate
 
U-6 rate is 1.83 or less × U-3 rate
 
Hover over a state to see data.
Hover over legend items to see states in a category.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
U-3 unemployment rate, U-6 labor underutilization rate, and U-6 to U-3 ratio, by state, 2015 annual average
State U-3 U-6 U-6 to U-3 ratio

United States

5.3% 10.4% 1.96

Alabama

6.1 11.2 1.84

Alaska

6.7 12.1 1.81

Arizona

6.0 12.8 2.13

Arkansas

5.2 9.5 1.83

California

6.2 12.7 2.05

Colorado

3.9 7.9 2.03

Connecticut

5.6 10.9 1.95

Delaware

5.0 9.6 1.92

District of Columbia

6.9 10.9 1.58

Florida

5.4 11.5 2.13

Georgia

5.8 11.1 1.91

Hawaii

3.7 9.7 2.62

Idaho

4.3 8.6 2.00

Illinois

5.9 10.9 1.85

Indiana

4.8 9.0 1.88

Iowa

3.6 7.0 1.94

Kansas

4.3 8.2 1.91

Kentucky

5.4 10.3 1.91

Louisiana

6.2 11.1 1.79

Maine

4.4 9.8 2.23

Maryland

5.2 9.3 1.79

Massachusetts

4.9 9.7 1.98

Michigan

5.4 11.4 2.11

Minnesota

3.8 8.2 2.16

Mississippi

6.5 11.7 1.80

Missouri

5.0 9.3 1.86

Montana

4.1 9.0 2.20

Nebraska

3.0 6.7 2.23

Nevada

6.9 13.9 2.01

New Hampshire

3.4 8.0 2.35

New Jersey

5.8 10.4 1.79

New Mexico

6.8 12.6 1.85

New York

5.3 10.6 2.00

North Carolina

5.9 11.3 1.92

North Dakota

2.7 5.3 1.96

Ohio

4.9 10.1 2.06

Oklahoma

4.3 8.0 1.86

Oregon

5.7 11.7 2.05

Pennsylvania

5.2 10.7 2.06

Rhode Island

5.9 11.4 1.93

South Carolina

5.9 11.4 1.93

South Dakota

3.5 6.3 1.80

Tennessee

5.7 10.7 1.88

Texas

4.4 8.4 1.91

Utah

3.6 7.5 2.08

Vermont

3.6 8.2 2.28

Virginia

4.5 9.8 2.18

Washington

5.6 11.0 1.96

West Virginia

6.9 12.4 1.80

Wisconsin

4.6 8.3 1.80

Wyoming

4.1 8.2 2.00

In contrast, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Vermont, Nebraska, Maine, Montana, Virginia, Minnesota, Arizona, Florida, and Michigan all had ratios of U-6 to U-3 larger than 2.11. These states had a relatively larger number of marginally attached workers or people working part time for economic reasons.

These data from the Current Population Survey are issued by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. To learn more, see Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for States. A chart of the most recent Alternative measures of labor underutilization for the nation is one of the Charts related to The Employment Situation news release

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, U-3 and U-6 unemployment by state, 2015 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/u-3-and-u-6-unemployment-by-state-2015.htm (visited April 27, 2017).

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