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.

Current unemployment rates for states, May 2017, and historical highs and lows, seasonally adjusted
StateMay 2017 rateHistorical HighHistorical Low
DateRateDateRate

Alabama

4.9% Dec 1982 15.5% Apr 2007 3.8%

Alaska

6.7Aug 198611.2Jun 20076.3

Arizona

5.1Dec 198211.5Jul 20073.7

Arkansas

3.4Feb 198310.3May 20173.4

California

4.7Oct 201012.2May 20174.7

Colorado

2.3Oct 20108.9May 20172.3

Connecticut

4.9Jan 197610.0Oct 20002.2

Delaware

4.7Dec 19769.8Jun 19883.0

District of Columbia

6.0Sep 198311.3Sep 19894.8

Florida

4.3Jan 201011.2Apr 20063.1

Georgia

4.9Dec 201010.5Nov 20003.4

Hawaii

2.7Jan 197610.4Dec 20062.4

Idaho

3.2Dec 198210.2Jun 20072.9

Illinois

4.6Feb 198313.1Feb 19994.1

Indiana

3.2Dec 198212.6Oct 20002.9

Iowa

3.1Jan 19839.1Mar 20002.4

Kansas

3.7Sep 20097.3Aug 19782.9

Kentucky

5.0Feb 198312.1May 20004.0

Louisiana

5.7Nov 198613.1Oct 20073.9

Maine

3.2Jan 19779.0Apr 20173.0

Maryland

4.2Mar 19828.5Dec 19993.3

Massachusetts

4.2Jan 197610.7Oct 20002.6

Michigan

4.2Dec 198216.5Mar 20003.2

Minnesota

3.7Jan 19838.9Mar 19992.5

Mississippi

4.9Apr 198312.8May 20174.9

Missouri

3.9Apr 198310.6Jan 20003.1

Montana

3.9May 19838.8Feb 20072.9

Nebraska

2.9Feb 19836.3Oct 19902.3

Nevada

4.7Nov 201013.7Jan 19993.7

New Hampshire

2.9Jul 19927.4Mar 19882.2

New Jersey

4.1Jan 197710.7May 20003.5

New Mexico

6.6Mar 198310.5Aug 20073.7

New York

4.4Jan 197610.4May 19884.0

North Carolina

4.5Mar 201011.3Apr 19993.0

North Dakota

2.5Mar 19836.2May 20172.5

Ohio

4.9Jan 198314.0Apr 20013.8

Oklahoma

4.3Apr 19838.9Dec 20002.9

Oregon

3.6May 200911.9May 20173.6

Pennsylvania

5.0Feb 198312.7May 20004.0

Rhode Island

4.1Aug 200911.3May 19882.9

South Carolina

4.1Jan 198311.8Apr 19983.5

South Dakota

2.9Jan 19835.9Jul 20002.4

Tennessee

4.0Jan 198312.9Mar 20003.7

Texas

4.8Nov 19869.2Dec 20004.0

Utah

3.2Mar 19839.6Mar 20072.3

Vermont

3.1Feb 19768.8Mar 20002.6

Virginia

3.8Dec 19827.9Nov 20002.1

Washington

4.5Nov 198212.2May 20174.5

West Virginia

4.5Feb 198318.8Aug 20084.1

Wisconsin

3.1Jan 198311.9Jul 19993.0

Wyoming

4.1Dec 19869.4May 19792.5

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.

SUGGESTED CITATION

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).

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