For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Wednesday, March 4, 2015 USDL-15-0323 Technical information: (202) 691-6392 email@example.com www.bls.gov/lau Media contact: (202) 691-5902 PressOffice@bls.gov REGIONAL AND STATE UNEMPLOYMENT -- 2014 ANNUAL AVERAGES In 2014, annual average unemployment rates declined in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment-population ratios increased in 35 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 12 states, and were unchanged in 3 states. The U.S. jobless rate decreased by 1.2 percentage points to 6.2 percent in 2014, while the national employment-population ratio increased by 0.4 point to 59.0 percent. Regional Unemployment All four regions had annual average unemployment rate declines from 2013, with the Midwest and Northeast having the largest decreases (-1.4 percentage points each). The Midwest, at 5.8 percent, had the lowest regional unemployment rate in 2014, while the West, at 6.8 percent, had the highest rate. (See table 1.) Among the nine geographic divisions, the West North Central had the lowest annual average unemployment rate, 4.6 percent in 2014. The Pacific had the highest jobless rate, 7.2 percent. All nine divisions had over-the-year unemployment rate declines, the largest of which occurred in the East North Central (-1.7 percentage points) and Middle Atlantic (-1.5 points). ____________________________________________________________________________________ | | | Changes to Local Area Unemployment Statistics Data | | | | All subnational estimates presented in this news release, except those for Puerto | | Rico, were produced using a new generation of time-series models. Information is | | available in the Report on Revision to State and Area Time-Series Models on the | | BLS website at www.bls.gov/lau/lauschanges2015.htm. | | | | Effective with this news release, data have been re-estimated back to 1976 for | | regions, divisions, states, and the District of Columbia. The annual average data | | shown in tables 1 and 2 were affected, as were monthly seasonally adjusted and not | | seasonally adjusted data. | |____________________________________________________________________________________| State Unemployment Annual average unemployment rates decreased from 2013 to 2014 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This was the first year since 1984 in which all states and the District had over-the-year rate declines. The largest rate decline occurred in Illinois (-2.0 percentage points), followed by Colorado, North Carolina, and Ohio (-1.8 points each). Twenty additional states had over-the-year jobless rate decreases of at least 1.0 percentage point. North Dakota had the lowest annual average unemployment rate (2.8 percent) in 2014. Nebraska (3.3 percent) and South Dakota (3.4 percent) had the next lowest jobless rates. Eleven additional states had annual average unemployment rates under 5.0 percent. Mississippi and Nevada had the highest jobless rates (7.8 percent each) among the states, followed by Rhode Island (7.7 percent). The District of Columbia also had a jobless rate of 7.8 percent. Regional Employment-Population Ratios In 2014, all four regions had over-the-year increases in their employment-population ratios--the proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and older who are employed. The Midwest had the largest increase (+0.8 percentage point). The Midwest also had the highest employment-population ratio, 61.3 percent, while the South had the lowest, 57.9 percent. (See table 2.) Eight of the 9 geographic divisions had over-the-year increases in their employment- population ratios, with the largest of these occurring in the East North Central (+1.0 percentage point). The East South Central had the only ratio decline over the year (-0.9 percentage point). The West North Central had the highest proportion of employed persons, 65.3 percent in 2014, while the East South Central had the lowest proportion, 53.6 percent. State Employment-Population Ratios In 2014, Hawaii and Indiana had the largest over-the-year increases in their employment- population ratios (+1.4 percentage points each), followed by Louisiana (+1.2 points) and Connecticut (+1.1 points). Sixteen additional states had increases of at least 0.5 percentage point. Mississippi and Tennessee had the largest decreases in their employment-population ratios (-1.2 percentage points each). Four other states had declines of at least 0.5 percentage point. North Dakota had the highest proportion of employed persons, 70.8 percent in 2014. Four other states in the West North Central division had the next highest ratios: Nebraska, 68.9 percent; Iowa, 67.3 percent; Minnesota, 67.0 percent; and South Dakota, 66.9 percent. West Virginia had the lowest employment-population ratio among the states, 49.7 percent. West Virginia has had the lowest employment-population ratio each year since the series began in 1976. Three states had the lowest employment-population ratios in their series in 2014: Kentucky, 54.8 percent; Mississippi, 50.1 percent; and New Mexico, 53.6 percent. _____________ The Regional and State Employment and Unemployment news release for January 2015 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT). The Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment news release for January 2015 is scheduled to be released on Friday, March 20, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).