Source: BLS
Source: BLS


This is a fascinating chart from the Bureau Labor Statistics looking at the state-by-state unemployment rates. We know the national jobless rate is down to 6.3 percent and this chart lets us see how that is distributed nationally.

At the BLS site, and you can click through the chart and see unemployment rates over the past decade or you can mouse over any state and a pop-up tells you what the state’s unemployment rate is.

The states with the highest unemployment rate are Nevada (8 percent) and Rhode Island (8.3 percent). Nevada was hit especially hard by the housing collapse and Rhode Island has been fighting a loss of manufacturing industries, fishing and tourism woes, high taxes and a state government some observers have described as corrupt. Illinois comes in third (7.9 percent) — its deficit issues and pension headaches are well known — and California is fourth (7.8 percent).

On the other end of the spectrum there are a handful of Midwestern states enjoying the benefits of a huge energy boom. Oil and natural gas have driven unemployment down to 2.6 percent in North Dakota — the lowest in the nation. Nebraska (3.6 percent), Wyoming (3.7 percent), South Dakota (3.8 percent), and Utah (3.8 percent) round out the well-employed region.

There’s no oil in Vermont, but at 3.3 percent, it has the second-lowest unemployment rate in the nation. The state’s ski areas, and leisure and hospitality industry are benefiting from the improving economies in nearby Boston and New York City.

Category: Data Analysis, Digital Media, Employment

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5 Responses to “A Closer Look at Unemployment”

  1. Frilton Miedman says:

    I’d be interested in seeing the % of jobs per state that fall below median wage.

    Thinking back to BR’s “The Texas Miracle” blog a couple of years ago, where Rick Perry campaigned on TX’s low unemployment until it was pointed out that the vast majority of those jobs were low wage without benefits.

    IMO, the result of promoting low taxes to lure companies seeking cheap menial labor versus focusing on boosting adult education to promote higher paying vocations will have very negative long term consequences for a given state.

    • victor says:

      And NY state too, see their commercials.

      • Frilton Miedman says:

        I know, it’s pathetic, I’ve seen them – “Come to New York…we’ll let you dodge taxes for ten years”.

        Here we go, as with global economies, states are starting the race to the bottom, Ireland has won the global contest for lowest taxes with least ROI and one of the highest U/E rates…let’s see which state can match that.

  2. Futuredome says:

    The Northeast is recovering rapidly now. I figure unemployment in New York, New Jersey and Mass will be among the fastest dropping segments in future months.