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Significant declines in unemployment rates for 25 states and the District of Columbia, 2012-2013

March 04, 2014

Over the year, 25 states and the District of Columbia had statistically significant unemployment rate changes in 2013, all of which were decreases. Employment-population ratios decreased significantly in 8 states and increased in 3 states. The U.S. jobless rate declined by 0.7 percentage point from the prior year to 7.4 percent, and the national employment-population ratio was unchanged at 58.6 percent.

From 2012 to 2013, the largest statistically significant decreases in unemployment rates were in Nevada (−1.7 percentage points), Florida (−1.6 points), and California (−1.5 points). Six additional states had decreases that were greater than 1.0 percentage point.

Over-the-year change in unemployment rate by state, 2012-2013, annual averages

Over-the-year change in unemployment rate by state, 2012-2013, annual averages
State2012 unemployment rate2013 unemployment rateNet changeStatistical significance

Alabama

7.16.5-0.6Not statistically significant

Alaska

6.96.5-0.4Not statistically significant

Arizona

8.38.0-0.3Not statistically significant

Arkansas

7.57.50.0Not statistically significant

California

10.48.9-1.5Statistically significant

Colorado

7.86.8-1.0Statistically significant

Connecticut

8.37.8-0.5Not statistically significant

Delaware

7.16.7-0.4Not statistically significant

District of Columbia

9.18.3-0.8Statistically significant

Florida

8.87.2-1.6Statistically significant

Georgia

9.08.2-0.8Statistically significant

Hawaii

5.74.8-0.9Statistically significant

Idaho

7.36.2-1.1Statistically significant

Illinois

8.99.20.3Not statistically significant

Indiana

8.17.5-0.6Statistically significant

Iowa

5.24.6-0.6Statistically significant

Kansas

5.85.4-0.4Not statistically significant

Kentucky

8.38.30.0Not statistically significant

Louisiana

6.56.2-0.3Not statistically significant

Maine

7.26.7-0.5Statistically significant

Maryland

6.96.6-0.3Not statistically significant

Massachusetts

6.87.10.3Not statistically significant

Michigan

9.18.8-0.3Not statistically significant

Minnesota

5.65.1-0.5Statistically significant

Mississippi

9.28.6-0.6Not statistically significant

Missouri

7.06.5-0.5Not statistically significant

Montana

6.05.6-0.4Not statistically significant

Nebraska

4.03.9-0.1Not statistically significant

Nevada

11.59.8-1.7Statistically significant

New Hampshire

5.55.3-0.2Not statistically significant

New Jersey

9.38.2-1.1Statistically significant

New Mexico

7.16.9-0.2Not statistically significant

New York

8.57.7-0.8Statistically significant

North Carolina

9.28.0-1.2Statistically significant

North Dakota

3.02.9-0.1Not statistically significant

Ohio

7.47.40.0Not statistically significant

Oklahoma

5.45.40.0Not statistically significant

Oregon

8.87.7-1.1Statistically significant

Pennsylvania

7.97.4-0.5Statistically significant

Rhode Island

10.39.5-0.8Statistically significant

South Carolina

9.07.6-1.4Statistically significant

South Dakota

4.23.8-0.4Statistically significant

Tennessee

8.28.20.0Not statistically significant

Texas

6.86.3-0.5Statistically significant

Utah

5.44.4-1.0Statistically significant

Vermont

4.94.4-0.5Statistically significant

Virginia

5.95.5-0.4Not statistically significant

Washington

8.17.0-1.1Statistically significant

West Virginia

7.26.5-0.7Statistically significant

Wisconsin

6.96.7-0.2Not statistically significant

Wyoming

5.44.6-0.8Statistically significant

Nevada again had the highest unemployment rate (9.8 percent) in 2013, followed by Rhode Island (9.5 percent) and Illinois (9.2 percent). North Dakota had the lowest jobless rate among the states for the fifth year in a row (2.9 percent), followed by South Dakota (3.8 percent) and Nebraska (3.9 percent). Overall, 25 states had unemployment rates that were significantly lower than the U.S. rate of 7.4 percent, while 11 states and the District of Columbia had rates significantly above it.

From 2012 to 2013, the largest employment-population ratio decrease among the states occurred in Tennessee (−1.1 percentage points), followed by Arkansas and North Dakota (−1.0 point each). Five other states also had statistically significant decreases in their ratios. Utah had the largest increase in its employment-population ratio among the states (+1.4 percentage points). California and Florida had the only other statistically significant increases in their ratios over the year (+0.5 percentage point each).

Over-the-year change in employment-population ratios by state, 2012-2013, annual averages

Over-the-year change in employment-population ratios by state, 2012-2013, annual averages
State2012 employment-population ratio2013 employment-population ratioNet changeStatistical significance

Alabama

53.653.1-0.5Not statistically significant

Alaska

63.663.4-0.2Not statistically significant

Arizona

55.554.6-0.9Statistically significant

Arkansas

54.953.9-1.0Statistically significant

California

56.557.00.5Statistically significant

Colorado

63.463.2-0.2Not statistically significant

Connecticut

60.960.1-0.8Statistically significant

Delaware

56.956.7-0.2Not statistically significant

District of Columbia

63.063.50.5Not statistically significant

Florida

55.355.80.5Statistically significant

Georgia

58.057.9-0.1Not statistically significant

Hawaii

57.757.70.0Not statistically significant

Idaho

60.060.10.1Not statistically significant

Illinois

59.959.4-0.5Not statistically significant

Indiana

57.958.00.1Not statistically significant

Iowa

66.066.30.3Not statistically significant

Kansas

64.464.3-0.1Not statistically significant

Kentucky

56.255.7-0.5Not statistically significant

Louisiana

55.555.90.4Not statistically significant

Maine

60.660.90.3Not statistically significant

Maryland

63.363.0-0.3Not statistically significant

Massachusetts

60.660.1-0.5Statistically significant

Michigan

54.555.00.5Not statistically significant

Minnesota

66.866.80.0Not statistically significant

Mississippi

52.952.0-0.9Statistically significant

Missouri

59.760.10.4Not statistically significant

Montana

60.260.50.3Not statistically significant

Nebraska

69.369.2-0.1Not statistically significant

Nevada

57.557.2-0.3Not statistically significant

New Hampshire

65.865.6-0.2Not statistically significant

New Jersey

59.459.40.0Not statistically significant

New Mexico

54.154.10.0Not statistically significant

New York

56.656.80.2Not statistically significant

North Carolina

57.056.9-0.1Not statistically significant

North Dakota

70.469.4-1.0Statistically significant

Ohio

58.959.00.1Not statistically significant

Oklahoma

58.758.80.1Not statistically significant

Oregon

57.356.7-0.6Statistically significant

Pennsylvania

58.658.80.2Not statistically significant

Rhode Island

59.459.3-0.1Not statistically significant

South Carolina

54.454.40.0Not statistically significant

South Dakota

67.567.2-0.3Not statistically significant

Tennessee

56.755.6-1.1Statistically significant

Texas

60.961.10.2Not statistically significant

Utah

64.265.61.4Statistically significant

Vermont

66.265.5-0.7Not statistically significant

Virginia

62.962.7-0.2Not statistically significant

Washington

59.659.1-0.5Not statistically significant

West Virginia

50.350.1-0.2Not statistically significant

Wisconsin

63.563.60.1Not statistically significant

Wyoming

65.164.9-0.2Not statistically significant

West Virginia again had the lowest employment-population ratio among the states, 50.1 percent in 2013. West Virginia has had the lowest employment-population ratio each year since the series began in 1976. Four states in the West North Central division again had the highest ratios: North Dakota (69.4 percent), Nebraska (69.2 percent), South Dakota (67.2 percent), and Minnesota (66.8 percent). Overall, 22 states and the District of Columbia had employment-population ratios that were significantly above the U.S. ratio of 58.6 percent, and 18 states had ratios that were appreciably below it. Three states had the lowest employment-population ratios in their series in 2013: Delaware, 56.7 percent; Nevada, 57.2 percent; and Oregon, 56.7 percent.

These data are from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. The employment-population ratio is the proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and over with a job. To learn more, see "Regional and State Unemployment — 2013 Annual Averages" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-14-0315.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Significant declines in unemployment rates for 25 states and the District of Columbia, 2012-2013 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20140304.htm (visited October 26, 2014).

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