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Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska had highest employment–population ratios in 2019

March 09, 2020

Iowa had the highest employment–population ratio in 2019, 68.5 percent, followed by Minnesota, 68.0 percent. West Virginia (52.4 percent) and Mississippi (52.8 percent) had the lowest employment–population ratios among the states. Overall, 22 states and the District of Columbia had employment–population ratios in 2019 that were significantly higher than the U.S. ratio of 60.8 percent. Seventeen states had ratios that were appreciably below the U.S. ratio. Alaska had its lowest employment–population ratio, 59.9 percent, since comparable data have been available back to 1976.

Employment–population ratios of people 16 years and older by state, 2018–19
State 2019 2018 Over-the-year change

Iowa

68.5% 67.0% 1.5 percentage point(s)

Minnesota

68.0 67.9 0.1

Nebraska

67.8 67.5 0.3

North Dakota

67.6 67.8 -0.2

Colorado

67.4 66.7 0.7

New Hampshire

67.3 66.8 0.5

District of Columbia

67.1 66.5 0.6

South Dakota

66.7 66.8 -0.1

Utah

66.6 66.2 0.4

Maryland

66.0 65.2 0.8

Massachusetts

65.8 65.2 0.6

Wisconsin

64.8 65.6 -0.8

Kansas

64.6 64.3 0.3

Vermont

64.5 65.1 -0.6

Virginia

64.3 63.5 0.8

Connecticut

63.9 63.2 0.7

Idaho

62.6 62.4 0.2

Wyoming

62.6 62.5 0.1

Indiana

62.4 62.7 -0.3

Washington

62.3 61.3 1.0

Rhode Island

62.0 61.8 0.2

Missouri

62.0 61.7 0.3

Illinois

61.9 61.7 0.2

Texas

61.8 61.5 0.3

New Jersey

61.3 60.2 1.1

Nevada

61.1 60.5 0.6

Montana

60.6 60.5 0.1

Maine

60.5 61.0 -0.5

Pennsylvania

60.4 59.9 0.5

Ohio

60.2 59.9 0.3

Delaware

60.2 60.2 0.0

Georgia

60.2 60.3 -0.1

Tennessee

60.1 59.0 1.1

Alaska

59.9 60.4 -0.5

California

59.9 59.6 0.3

Oregon

59.4 59.7 -0.3

Hawaii

59.3 60.2 -0.9

Michigan

59.2 59.0 0.2

North Carolina

59.2 58.8 0.4

Arizona

59.2 58.2 1.0

Oklahoma

58.8 59.0 -0.2

New York

58.4 58.2 0.2

Florida

57.5 57.1 0.4

South Carolina

56.8 56.4 0.4

Kentucky

56.8 56.5 0.3

Alabama

56.3 55.4 0.9

Arkansas

56.1 55.9 0.2

Louisiana

55.8 55.9 -0.1

New Mexico

55.4 54.7 0.7

Mississippi

52.8 52.8 0.0

West Virginia

52.4 51.2 1.2

Puerto Rico

37.4 36.7 0.7

The largest employment–population ratio increase in 2019 occurred in Iowa (+1.5 percentage points), followed by West Virginia (+1.2 points) and New Jersey and Tennessee (+1.1 points each). Twelve other states also had significant increases in their ratios. Hawaii (−0.9 percentage point) and Wisconsin (−0.8 percentage point) were the only states with over-the-year decreases in their employment–population ratios. The remaining 32 states and the District of Columbia had ratios that were not notably different from those of the previous year. (Some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the statistically significant changes.)

These data are from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. To learn more, see “Regional and State Unemployment – 2019 Annual Averages.” The employment–population ratio is the proportion of the civilian population age 16 years and older who are employed.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska had highest employment–population ratios in 2019 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2020/iowa-minnesota-and-nebraska-had-highest-employment-population-ratios-in-2019.htm (visited November 25, 2020).

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