Unemployment Rates by State

Unemployment rates in the United States vary quite a bit by state. The unemployment rate in the nation was 4.1% in November of 2017 . Below is a table with 2011 – 2016 unemployment rates of selected states (most of the states not listed have unemployment rates close to the average national unemployment rate). The table shows that in 2016 Hawaii, Nebraska, North Dakota, and New Hampshire had the lowest unemployment rates. The highest rates were in Alaska, the District of Columbia, New Mexico, West Virginia and New Jersey. After 2011 most states have experienced a decrease in unemployment. Only five states experienced an increase in unemployment from 2015 to 2016 (Alaska, Delaware, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Wyoming).

State/Region Unemployment Rate (2011, seasonally adjusted) Unemployment Rate (2012, seasonally adjusted) Unemployment Rate (2015, seasonally adjusted) Unemployment Rate (Nov. 2016, seasonally adjusted)
United States 9.1 7.7 5.5 4.1
Alaska 7.4 6.8 6.7 7.2
California 11.7 9.8 6.3 4.6
Delaware 8.0 6.7 4.5 4.7
Florida 10.6 8.1 5.6 3.6
Hawaii 6.0 5.3 4.1 2.0
Iowa 6.0 4.9 3.8 2.9
Kansas 6.6 5.4 4.3 3.5
Maine 7.7 7.2 4.7 3.3
Maryland 6.8 6.6 5.3 3.9
Massachusetts 7.6 6.6 4.7 3.6
Michigan 10.3 8.9 5.4 4.6
Minnesota 6.6 5.7 3.7 3.1
Montana 7.3 5.8 4.0 4.0
Nebraska 4.1 3.7 2.5 2.7
Nevada 12.1 10.8 7.1 5.0
New Hampshire 6.9 5.6 3.8 2.7
New Mexico 4.0 6.2 6.2 6.1
New York 7.9 8.3 5.7 4.7
North Dakota 3.2 3.1 3.1 2.6
Oklahoma 5.3 5.2 4.1 4.2
Pennsylvania 7.4 7.8 5.3 4.6
Rhode Island 10.9 10.4 6.1 4.3
South Dakota 4.8 4.4 3.6 3.5
Texas 8.0 6.2 4.2 3.8
Utah 7.3 5.1 3.4 3.2
Vermont 5.4 5.2 3.6 2.9
Virginia 6.0 5.6 4.8 3.7
Wisconsin 7.4 6.7 4.4 3.2
Wyoming 6.0 5.1 4.1 4.3
District of Columbia 10.5 8.9 7.5 6.4

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017.

Unemployment Rates by Group

Unemployment rates in the United States vary significantly by group. Below is a table with 2008, 2012, 2014, and 2016 unemployment rates by selected demographic groups. The table shows that residents of Asian descent have the lowest unemployment rate, and Black or of African American descent, the highest. Among all groups, teenagers have the highest unemployment rates. Even though between 2014 and 2016 rates have decreased for all demographic groups, a serious concern is the high unemployment rate among Black or African American descent residents. The overall rate for Black or African American labor force participants was 8.4% in 2016. The unemployment rate for Black or African American teenagers  (16 Р19 years) was particularly concerning at 26.7% in 2016. Regarding education levels, it is clear that the likelihood for unemployment decreases among people with more advanced degrees.

Demographic Group Unemployment Rate (Percentage), 2008 Unemployment Rate (Percentage), 2012 Unemployment Rate (Percentage), 2014 Unemployment Rate (Percentage), 2016
Total United States 5.0 7.7 5.8 4.9
All Women and Men 16 – 19 Years of Age 19.2 24.4 17.7 15.7
All Women 16 – 19 Years of Age 21.4 14.3
All Men 16 – 19 Years of Age 17.7 17.1
Men, 25 – 54 Years 5.1 8.2 5.2 4.0
Women, 25 – 54 Years 4.7 7.6 5.3 4.3
Black or African American, 16 years and Older 9.5 15.8 11.3 8.4
Black or African American, 16 – 19 years of Age 41.3 33.0 26.7
Caucasian or White, 16 Years and Older 5.0 7.9 5.3 4.3
Hispanic or Latino, 16 Years and Older 7.7 11.5 6.5 5.9
Asian, 16 Years and Older NA 7.0 5.0 3.6
Less than a High School Diploma, 25 Years and Older 8.8 14.1 8.6 7.4
High School Graduates, 25 Years and Older 5.2 9.4 5.3 5.2
Associates Degree, 25 Years and Older 4.3 6.8 4.9 3.6
Bachelor’s Degree, 25 Years and Older 2.4 4.3 2.9 2.7

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information, visit http://www.bls.gov/cps/demographics.htm