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Employment–population ratios decreased in all 50 states and the District in 2020

March 05, 2021

In 2020, all 50 states and the District of Columbia had over-the-year decreases in their employment–population ratios. The largest of these declines occurred in Nevada (−8.1 percentage points), Hawaii (−7.1 points), and Massachusetts (−6.1 points). Three additional states recorded ratio decreases of at least 5.0 percentage points. The smallest over-the-year decrease occurred in Nebraska (−1.5 percentage points).

Employment–population ratios of people 16 years and older by state, 2020
State 2020 2019 Over-the-year change Total employment, 2020

United States

56.8% 60.8% -4.0 percentage point(s) 147,795,000

Nebraska

66.7 68.2 -1.5 991,000

North Dakota

66.0 68.5 -2.5 386,000

Minnesota

65.3 67.7 -2.4 2,904,000

South Dakota

65.0 66.7 -1.7 442,000

Utah

64.8 66.8 -2.0 1,556,000

District of Columbia

64.6 67.6 -3.0 377,000

Iowa

63.7 68.2 -4.5 1,579,000

Kansas

63.1 64.9 -1.8 1,409,000

New Hampshire

62.9 67.1 -4.2 711,000

Colorado

62.8 66.9 -4.1 2,895,000

Maryland

62.0 66.2 -4.2 2,958,000

Wisconsin

61.7 64.6 -2.9 2,873,000

Wyoming

61.5 63.2 -1.7 279,000

Virginia

60.6 64.5 -3.9 4,075,000

Vermont

60.1 64.9 -4.8 312,000

Idaho

60.0 62.4 -2.4 844,000

Connecticut

59.8 64.1 -4.3 1,725,000

Missouri

59.3 61.9 -2.6 2,867,000

Massachusetts

59.0 65.1 -6.1 3,334,000

Montana

59.0 60.8 -1.8 508,000

Washington

58.8 62.2 -3.4 3,586,000

Alaska

58.7 61.3 -2.6 320,000

Indiana

58.5 62.4 -3.9 3,083,000

Texas

57.9 61.7 -3.8 12,915,000

New Jersey

57.3 61.7 -4.4 4,055,000

Maine

57.2 60.9 -3.7 640,000

Georgia

57.1 60.5 -3.4 4,741,000

Ohio

57.1 60.6 -3.5 5,285,000

Illinois

56.8 61.9 -5.1 5,658,000

Oklahoma

56.8 59.0 -2.2 1,735,000

Rhode Island

56.8 62.4 -5.6 491,000

Delaware

56.5 60.2 -3.7 446,000

Oregon

56.5 59.5 -3.0 1,945,000

Pennsylvania

56.5 60.4 -3.9 5,808,000

Arizona

56.1 58.8 -2.7 3,288,000

Tennessee

56.0 59.8 -3.8 3,044,000

North Carolina

54.9 59.2 -4.3 4,587,000

Michigan

54.6 59.4 -4.8 4,363,000

California

54.4 59.8 -5.4 16,913,000

South Carolina

54.2 56.6 -2.4 2,237,000

Alabama

54.1 56.1 -2.0 2,099,000

Arkansas

53.9 56.2 -2.3 1,272,000

Kentucky

53.8 56.7 -2.9 1,886,000

Nevada

53.8 61.9 -8.1 1,334,000

New York

53.7 58.4 -4.7 8,361,000

Louisiana

53.2 56.4 -3.2 1,905,000

Florida

52.9 57.4 -4.5 9,333,000

Hawaii

52.7 59.8 -7.1 573,000

New Mexico

52.3 55.5 -3.2 864,000

Mississippi

50.6 52.9 -2.3 1,158,000

West Virginia

50.3 52.4 -2.1 726,000

West Virginia and Mississippi had the lowest proportions of employed people among the states, 50.3 percent and 50.6 percent, respectively. Nebraska had the highest employment–population ratio, at 66.7 percent. Fifteen states registered their lowest employment–population ratios since the data series began in 1976.

The national employment–population ratio fell by 4.0 percentage points to 56.8 percent in 2020. Overall, 23 states and the District of Columbia had employment–population ratios higher than the U.S. ratio of 56.8 percent, 15 states had lower ratios, and 12 states had ratios that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

These data are from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. To learn more, see “Regional and State Unemployment – 2020 Annual Averages.” The employment–population ratio is the proportion of the civilian population age 16 years and older who are employed. The deterioration in the labor market in 2020 reflected the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Employment–population ratios decreased in all 50 states and the District in 2020 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/employment-population-ratios-decreased-in-all-50-states-and-the-district-in-2020.htm (visited July 29, 2021).

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