Seven states at historically low unemployment rates in May 2017
June 22, 2017
In May 2017, unemployment rates in seven states were at their lowest levels since the state unemployment data series began in January 1976. Colorado had the lowest unemployment rate in May, 2.3 percent, followed by North Dakota, 2.5 percent, both of which were the lowest rates ever recorded in those states. The rates in Arkansas (3.4 percent), California (4.7 percent), Mississippi (4.9 percent), Oregon (3.6 percent), and Washington (4.5 percent) were also at series lows. Alaska and New Mexico had the highest jobless rates among the states, 6.7 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively.
|State||May 2017 rate||Historical High||Historical Low|
|4.9%||Dec 1982||15.5%||Apr 2007||3.8%|
|6.7||Aug 1986||11.2||Jun 2007||6.3|
|5.1||Dec 1982||11.5||Jul 2007||3.7|
|3.4||Feb 1983||10.3||May 2017||3.4|
|4.7||Oct 2010||12.2||May 2017||4.7|
|2.3||Oct 2010||8.9||May 2017||2.3|
|4.9||Jan 1976||10.0||Oct 2000||2.2|
|4.7||Dec 1976||9.8||Jun 1988||3.0|
District of Columbia
|6.0||Sep 1983||11.3||Sep 1989||4.8|
|4.3||Jan 2010||11.2||Apr 2006||3.1|
|4.9||Dec 2010||10.5||Nov 2000||3.4|
|2.7||Jan 1976||10.4||Dec 2006||2.4|
|3.2||Dec 1982||10.2||Jun 2007||2.9|
|4.6||Feb 1983||13.1||Feb 1999||4.1|
|3.2||Dec 1982||12.6||Oct 2000||2.9|
|3.1||Jan 1983||9.1||Mar 2000||2.4|
|3.7||Sep 2009||7.3||Aug 1978||2.9|
|5.0||Feb 1983||12.1||May 2000||4.0|
|5.7||Nov 1986||13.1||Oct 2007||3.9|
|3.2||Jan 1977||9.0||Apr 2017||3.0|
|4.2||Mar 1982||8.5||Dec 1999||3.3|
|4.2||Jan 1976||10.7||Oct 2000||2.6|
|4.2||Dec 1982||16.5||Mar 2000||3.2|
|3.7||Jan 1983||8.9||Mar 1999||2.5|
|4.9||Apr 1983||12.8||May 2017||4.9|
|3.9||Apr 1983||10.6||Jan 2000||3.1|
|3.9||May 1983||8.8||Feb 2007||2.9|
|2.9||Feb 1983||6.3||Oct 1990||2.3|
|4.7||Nov 2010||13.7||Jan 1999||3.7|
|2.9||Jul 1992||7.4||Mar 1988||2.2|
|4.1||Jan 1977||10.7||May 2000||3.5|
|6.6||Mar 1983||10.5||Aug 2007||3.7|
|4.4||Jan 1976||10.4||May 1988||4.0|
|4.5||Mar 2010||11.3||Apr 1999||3.0|
|2.5||Mar 1983||6.2||May 2017||2.5|
|4.9||Jan 1983||14.0||Apr 2001||3.8|
|4.3||Apr 1983||8.9||Dec 2000||2.9|
|3.6||May 2009||11.9||May 2017||3.6|
|5.0||Feb 1983||12.7||May 2000||4.0|
|4.1||Aug 2009||11.3||May 1988||2.9|
|4.1||Jan 1983||11.8||Apr 1998||3.5|
|2.9||Jan 1983||5.9||Jul 2000||2.4|
|4.0||Jan 1983||12.9||Mar 2000||3.7|
|4.8||Nov 1986||9.2||Dec 2000||4.0|
|3.2||Mar 1983||9.6||Mar 2007||2.3|
|3.1||Feb 1976||8.8||Mar 2000||2.6|
|3.8||Dec 1982||7.9||Nov 2000||2.1|
|4.5||Nov 1982||12.2||May 2017||4.5|
|4.5||Feb 1983||18.8||Aug 2008||4.1|
|3.1||Jan 1983||11.9||Jul 1999||3.0|
|4.1||Dec 1986||9.4||May 1979||2.5|
Note: Rates shown are a percentage of the labor force. Data refer to place of residence. Series begin in January 1976. Historical highs and lows show the most recent month that a rate was recorded in the event of multiple occurrences. Estimates for at least the latest five years are subject to revision early in the following calendar year. Estimates for the current month are subject to revision the following month.
Twenty-two states had significant unemployment rate changes from May 2016, all of which were decreases. The largest of these declines occurred in West Virginia and Wyoming (−1.5 percentage points each), closely followed by Indiana and Oregon (−1.4 points each).
The state unemployment data are from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program and are seasonally adjusted. Data for the most recent month are preliminary. To learn more, see "State Employment and Unemployment — May 2017" (HTML) (PDF). For more charts and tables related to state employment and unemployment, see the State unemployment chart package.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Seven states at historically low unemployment rates in May 2017 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/seven-states-at-historically-low-unemployment-rates-in-may-2017.htm (visited August 17, 2019).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
- 25 years of Worker Injury, Illness, and Fatality Case Data
Examines detailed historical data on work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatal injuries.
- Occupational employment projections through the perspective of education and training
Examines employment, projected employment growth, and wages for occupations with different education and training requirements.
- Workers in Alternative Employment Arrangements
A look at independent contractors, on-call workers, temporary help agency workers, and workers provided by contract firms.
- Labor force characteristics of people with a disability
Examines the labor force characteristics of people with a disability and compares them with the characteristics of people with no disability.