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Nebraska had highest employment–population ratio in 2021 at 67.7 percent

March 10, 2022

Nebraska had the highest employment–population ratio in 2021, at 67.7 percent, followed by South Dakota (66.4 percent). West Virginia (51.9 percent) had the lowest employment–population ratio, followed by Mississippi (52.0 percent). From 2020 to 2021, the largest employment–population ratio increases among the states occurred in Hawaii (+4.5 percentage points) and Nevada (+3.1 points).

Employment–population ratios by state, 2020–21 annual averages

Employment–population ratios by state, 2021 annual average
State 2021 employment–population ratio Significantly different from U.S. ratio

Alabama

54.6% Yes

Alaska

60.9 Yes

Arizona

58.1 No

Arkansas

54.2 Yes

California

56.6 Yes

Colorado

64.6 Yes

Connecticut

59.5 No

Delaware

58.4 No

District of Columbia

65.2 Yes

Florida

55.6 Yes

Georgia

59.4 No

Hawaii

56.4 Yes

Idaho

60.3 Yes

Illinois

59.1 No

Indiana

60.3 Yes

Iowa

64.1 Yes

Kansas

64.2 Yes

Kentucky

55.0 Yes

Louisiana

54.6 Yes

Maine

57.1 No

Maryland

61.5 Yes

Massachusetts

61.7 Yes

Michigan

55.7 Yes

Minnesota

65.0 Yes

Mississippi

52.0 Yes

Missouri

60.3 Yes

Montana

60.2 Yes

Nebraska

67.7 Yes

Nevada

56.1 Yes

New Hampshire

63.3 Yes

New Jersey

59.1 No

New Mexico

52.8 Yes

New York

55.0 Yes

North Carolina

56.7 Yes

North Dakota

66.0 Yes

Ohio

58.4 No

Oklahoma

58.3 No

Oregon

59.0 No

Pennsylvania

57.6 No

Rhode Island

60.0 Yes

South Carolina

55.1 Yes

South Dakota

66.4 Yes

Tennessee

57.8 No

Texas

59.7 Yes

Utah

66.1 Yes

Vermont

58.9 No

Virginia

60.4 Yes

Washington

60.3 Yes

West Virginia

51.9 Yes

Wisconsin

64.0 Yes

Wyoming

61.2 Yes
Change in employment–population ratios by state, 2020–2021 annual average
State Over-the-year change 2020 employment–population ratio 2021 employment–population ratio Statistically significant change:

Alabama

1.0 percentage point(s) 53.6% 54.6% Yes

Alaska

2.4 58.5 60.9 Yes

Arizona

1.6 56.5 58.1 Yes

Arkansas

-0.2 54.4 54.2 No

California

1.9 54.7 56.6 Yes

Colorado

1.8 62.8 64.6 Yes

Connecticut

-0.5 60.0 59.5 No

Delaware

1.8 56.6 58.4 Yes

District of Columbia

1.5 63.7 65.2 Yes

Florida

2.6 53.0 55.6 Yes

Georgia

2.1 57.3 59.4 Yes

Hawaii

4.5 51.9 56.4 Yes

Idaho

0.5 59.8 60.3 No

Illinois

1.9 57.2 59.1 Yes

Indiana

2.0 58.3 60.3 Yes

Iowa

0.2 63.9 64.1 No

Kansas

1.5 62.7 64.2 Yes

Kentucky

1.5 53.5 55.0 Yes

Louisiana

2.0 52.6 54.6 Yes

Maine

0.2 56.9 57.1 No

Maryland

-0.5 62.0 61.5 No

Massachusetts

2.7 59.0 61.7 Yes

Michigan

1.6 54.1 55.7 Yes

Minnesota

-0.3 65.3 65.0 No

Mississippi

1.7 50.3 52.0 Yes

Missouri

1.2 59.1 60.3 Yes

Montana

1.1 59.1 60.2 Yes

Nebraska

1.1 66.6 67.7 Yes

Nevada

3.1 53.0 56.1 Yes

New Hampshire

1.1 62.2 63.3 Yes

New Jersey

2.1 57.0 59.1 Yes

New Mexico

0.9 51.9 52.8 Yes

New York

1.7 53.3 55.0 Yes

North Carolina

1.9 54.8 56.7 Yes

North Dakota

0.3 65.7 66.0 No

Ohio

1.9 56.5 58.4 Yes

Oklahoma

1.6 56.7 58.3 Yes

Oregon

2.3 56.7 59.0 Yes

Pennsylvania

1.1 56.5 57.6 Yes

Rhode Island

2.5 57.5 60.0 Yes

South Carolina

1.1 54.0 55.1 Yes

South Dakota

1.0 65.4 66.4 No

Tennessee

1.8 56.0 57.8 Yes

Texas

1.8 57.9 59.7 Yes

Utah

1.5 64.6 66.1 Yes

Vermont

-1.4 60.3 58.9 Yes

Virginia

-0.2 60.6 60.4 No

Washington

1.4 58.9 60.3 Yes

West Virginia

2.2 49.7 51.9 Yes

Wisconsin

2.0 62.0 64.0 Yes

Wyoming

-0.3 61.5 61.2 No

In 2021, Virginia (60.4 percent) and Wyoming (61.2 percent) had the lowest employment–population ratios since data were first collected in 1976. Overall, 22 states and the District of Columbia had employment–population ratios higher than the U.S. ratio of 58.4 percent, 15 states had lower ratios, and 13 states had ratios that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

In addition to Hawaii and Nevada, 36 states and the District of Columbia also had increases in their employment–population ratios. Vermont had the only significant over-the-year decrease in its employment–population ratio (−1.4 percentage points). The remaining 11 states had ratios that were not notably different from those of the previous year, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes.

These data are from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. To learn more, see “Regional and State Unemployment – 2021 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, Nebraska had highest employment–population ratio in 2021 at 67.7 percent at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/nebraska-had-highest-employment-population-ratio-in-2021-at-67-7-percent.htm (visited September 26, 2022).

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