Three states at historically low unemployment rates in August 2017

September 21, 2017

In August 2017, unemployment rates for North Dakota (2.3 percent), Idaho (2.9 percent), and Tennessee (3.3 percent) were at their lowest levels since the state unemployment data series began in January 1976. Among states, North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate, followed by Colorado (2.4 percent), Hawaii (2.6 percent), and New Hampshire (2.7 percent). Alaska had the highest unemployment rate, at 7.2 percent.

State unemployment rates, August 2017, seasonally adjusted
State Unemployment rate(p) Historical high Historical low

Alaska

7.2% Aug 1986: 11.2 % Jun 2007: 6.3%

District of Columbia

6.4 Sep 1983: 11.3% Sep 1989: 4.8%

New Mexico

6.3 Mar 1983: 10.5% Aug 2007: 3.7%

Kentucky

5.4 Feb 1983: 12.1% May 2000: 4.0%

Ohio

5.4 Jan 1983: 14.0% Apr 2001: 3.8%

Mississippi

5.3 Apr 1983: 12.8% May 2017: 4.9%

Louisiana

5.2 Nov 1986: 13.1% Oct 2007: 3.9%

California

5.1 Oct 2010: 12.2% Jun 2017: 4.7%

Arizona

5.0 Dec 1982: 11.5% Jul 2007: 3.7%

Illinois

5.0 Feb 1983: 13.1% Feb 1999: 4.1%

West Virginia

5.0 Feb 1983: 18.8% Aug 2008: 4.1%

Delaware

4.9 Dec 1976: 9.8% Jun 1988: 3.0%

Nevada

4.9 Nov 2010: 13.7% Jan 1999: 3.7%

Pennsylvania

4.9 Feb 1983: 12.7% May 2000: 4.0%

Connecticut

4.8 Jan 1976: 10.0% Oct 2000: 2.2%

New York

4.8 Jan 1976: 10.4% May 1988: 4.0%

Georgia

4.7 Dec 2010: 10.5% Nov 2000: 3.4%

Washington

4.6 Nov 1982: 12.2% Jul 2017: 4.5%

New Jersey

4.5 Jan 1977: 10.7% May 2000: 3.5%

Oklahoma

4.5 Apr 1983: 8.9% Dec 2000: 2.9%

Rhode Island

4.3 Aug 2009: 11.3% May 1988: 2.9%

Alabama

4.2 Dec 1982: 15.5% Apr 2007: 3.8%

Massachusetts

4.2 Jan 1976: 10.7% Oct 2000: 2.6%

Texas

4.2 Nov 1986: 9.2% Dec 2000: 4.0%

North Carolina

4.1 Mar 2010: 11.3% Apr 1999: 3.0%

Oregon

4.1 May 2009: 11.9% May 2017: 3.6%

Florida

4.0 Jan 2010: 11.2% Apr 2006: 3.1%

Missouri

4.0 Apr 1983: 10.6% Jan 2000: 3.1%

South Carolina

4.0 Jan 1983: 11.8% Apr 1998: 3.5%

Wyoming

4.0 Dec 1986: 9.4% May 1979: 2.5%

Kansas

3.9 Sep 2009: 7.3% Aug 1978: 2.9%

Maryland

3.9 Mar 1982: 8.5% Dec 1999: 3.3%

Michigan

3.9 Dec 1982: 16.5% Mar 2000: 3.2%

Montana

3.9 May 1983: 8.8% Feb 2007: 2.9%

Maine

3.8 Jan 1977: 9.0% Apr 2017: 3.0%

Minnesota

3.8 Jan 1983: 8.9% Mar 1999: 2.5%

Virginia

3.8 Dec 1982: 7.9% Nov 2000: 2.1%

Arkansas

3.5 Feb 1983: 10.3 % Jul 2017: 3.4%

Indiana

3.5 Dec 1982:12.6% Oct 2000: 2.9%

Utah

3.5 Mar 1983: 9.6% Mar 2007: 2.3%

Wisconsin

3.4 Jan 1983: 11.9% Jul 1999: 3.0%

Iowa

3.3 Jan 1983: 9.1% Mar 2000: 2.4%

South Dakota

3.3 Jan 1983: 5.9% Jul 2000: 2.4%

Tennessee

3.3 Jan 1983: 12.9% Aug 2017: 3.3%

Vermont

3.0 Feb 1976: 8.8% Mar 2000: 2.6%

Idaho

2.9 Dec 1982: 10.2% Aug 2017: 2.9%

Nebraska

2.8 Feb 1983: 6.3% Oct 1990: 2.3%

New Hampshire

2.7 Jul 1992: 7.4% Mar 1988: 2.2%

Hawaii

2.6 Jan 1976: 10.4% Dec 2006: 2.4%

Colorado

2.4 Oct 2010: 8.9% Jun 2017: 2.3%

North Dakota

2.3 Mar 1983: 6.2% Aug 2017: 2.3%
Footnotes:

 

(p) = preliminary.

In August 2017, 19 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 4.4 percent, 6 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 25 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

From August 2016 to August 2017, 21 states had unemployment rate decreases. The largest declines occurred in Alabama and Tennessee (-1.7 percentage points and -1.5 points, respectively). The only over-the-year rate increase occurred in South Dakota (+0.4 percentage point).

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 — August 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, Three states at historically low unemployment rates in August 2017 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/three-states-at-historically-low-unemployment-rates-in-august-2017.htm (visited June 24, 2019).

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