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Unemployment rates lower than national rate in 27 states, higher in 12 states and D.C., in May 2021

June 29, 2021

In May 2021, there were 27 states with unemployment rates lower than the U.S. rate of 5.8 percent, 12 states and the District of Columbia with higher rates, and 11 states with rates that were not significantly different from that of the nation. Hawaii had the highest unemployment rate in May, 8.1 percent.

Unemployment rate by state, May 2021, seasonally adjusted
State Unemployment rate Significantly different from national unemployment rate? Number of unemployed Civilian labor force

Hawaii

8.1% Significantly higher than national rate 52,149 647,452

New Mexico

8.0 Significantly higher than national rate 76,047 953,346

California

7.9 Significantly higher than national rate 1,489,611 18,907,620

Nevada

7.8 Significantly higher than national rate 122,529 1,564,428

New York

7.8 Significantly higher than national rate 736,420 9,430,549

Connecticut

7.7 Significantly higher than national rate 134,928 1,751,300

District of Columbia

7.2 Significantly higher than national rate 29,203 405,288

New Jersey

7.2 Significantly higher than national rate 319,794 4,415,087

Illinois

7.1 Significantly higher than national rate 436,789 6,158,294

Louisiana

7.1 Significantly higher than national rate 146,333 2,069,361

Pennsylvania

6.9 Significantly higher than national rate 433,526 6,314,909

Alaska

6.7 Not significantly different from national rate 23,378 350,818

Arizona

6.7 Significantly higher than national rate 242,763 3,612,045

Texas

6.5 Significantly higher than national rate 920,389 14,053,405

Colorado

6.2 Not significantly different from national rate 198,071 3,198,103

Maryland

6.1 Not significantly different from national rate 190,323 3,122,554

Massachusetts

6.1 Not significantly different from national rate 229,030 3,747,609

Mississippi

6.1 Not significantly different from national rate 78,491 1,280,331

Delaware

5.9 Not significantly different from national rate 28,622 486,924

Oregon

5.9 Not significantly different from national rate 126,932 2,167,197

Rhode Island

5.8 Not significantly different from national rate 31,187 538,179

United States, total

5.8

West Virginia

5.5 Not significantly different from national rate 43,636 794,543

Wyoming

5.4 Not significantly different from national rate 16,042 296,321

Washington

5.3 Not significantly different from national rate 205,247 3,875,575

Michigan

5.0 Significantly lower than national rate 234,874 4,710,491

Ohio

5.0 Significantly lower than national rate 277,777 5,548,717

Tennessee

5.0 Significantly lower than national rate 166,164 3,334,094

Florida

4.9 Significantly lower than national rate 502,684 10,314,059

North Carolina

4.8 Significantly lower than national rate 239,523 4,996,874

Maine

4.7 Significantly lower than national rate 31,414 674,036

South Carolina

4.6 Significantly lower than national rate 110,339 2,388,088

Kentucky

4.5 Significantly lower than national rate 88,896 1,988,165

Virginia

4.5 Significantly lower than national rate 189,267 4,229,852

Arkansas

4.4 Significantly lower than national rate 59,078 1,357,765

Missouri

4.2 Significantly lower than national rate 128,770 3,075,597

Georgia

4.1 Significantly lower than national rate 211,717 5,160,501

Indiana

4.0 Significantly lower than national rate 134,593 3,343,498

Minnesota

4.0 Significantly lower than national rate 120,869 3,029,493

North Dakota

4.0 Significantly lower than national rate 15,964 403,365

Oklahoma

4.0 Significantly lower than national rate 73,855 1,865,369

Iowa

3.9 Significantly lower than national rate 63,492 1,647,496

Wisconsin

3.9 Significantly lower than national rate 119,658 3,084,945

Montana

3.6 Significantly lower than national rate 19,359 534,948

Kansas

3.5 Significantly lower than national rate 52,686 1,509,664

Alabama

3.4 Significantly lower than national rate 75,458 2,225,648

Idaho

3.0 Significantly lower than national rate 27,351 901,494

South Dakota

2.8 Significantly lower than national rate 12,949 470,086

Utah

2.7 Significantly lower than national rate 44,352 1,641,403

Nebraska

2.6 Significantly lower than national rate 26,761 1,019,000

Vermont

2.6 Significantly lower than national rate 8,033 313,168

New Hampshire

2.5 Significantly lower than national rate 18,613 753,792

Note: Data for the most recent month are preliminary.

After Hawaii, the next highest rates were in New Mexico, 8.0 percent, and California, 7.9 percent. Seven other states (Nevada, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, Louisiana and Pennsylvania) and the District of Columbia also had unemployment rates 6.9 percent or higher.

New Hampshire had the lowest jobless rate, 2.5 percent, closely followed by Nebraska and Vermont, 2.6 percent each. Six other states (Montana, Kansas, Alabama, Idaho, South Dakota, and Utah) had rates below 3.7 percent in May 2021.

All 50 states and the District had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier. The national unemployment rate was 7.5 points lower than in May 2020. The largest unemployment rate decreases among the states from May 2020 to May 2021 occurred in Nevada (−16.7 percentage points). The next largest decreases were in Michigan (−15.8 percentage points), Hawaii (−13.8 points), and New Hampshire (−10.9 points). The smallest over-the-year jobless rate decreases occurred in the District of Columbia (−1.7 percentage points) and New Mexico (−2.0 points).

These data are from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program and are seasonally adjusted. To learn more, see "State Employment and Unemployment — May 2021." Also see more charts and maps on state employment and unemployment. Estimates for the most recent month are preliminary.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Unemployment rates lower than national rate in 27 states, higher in 12 states and D.C., in May 2021 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/unemployment-rates-lower-than-national-rate-in-27-states-higher-in-12-states-and-d-c-in-may-2021.htm (visited September 26, 2021).

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