Unemployment rates were lower in January in 6 states and the District of Columbia and stable in 44 states, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Sixteen states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier and 34 states and the District had little or no change. The national unemployment rate was unchanged from December at 4.1 percent but was 0.7 percentage point lower than in January 2017.
Hawaii had the lowest unemployment rate in January, 2.1 percent. The rates in Alabama (3.7 percent), California (4.4 percent), Maine (3.0 percent), and Mississippi (4.6 percent) set new series lows. (All state series begin in 1976.) Alaska had the highest jobless rate, 7.3 percent.
This graph shows the current unemployment rate for each state (red), and the max during the recession (blue). All states are well below the maximum unemployment rate for the recession.
The size of the blue bar indicates the amount of improvement. The yellow squares are the lowest unemployment rate per state since 1976.
Twelve states have reached new all time lows since the end of the 2007 recession. These twelve states are: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.
The states are ranked by the highest current unemployment rate. Alaska, at 7.3%, had the highest state unemployment rate.
The second graph shows the number of states (and D.C.) with unemployment rates at or above certain levels since January 2006. At the worst of the employment recession, there were 11 states with an unemployment rate at or above 11% (red).
Currently one state, Alaska, has an unemployment rate at or above 7% (light blue); And only Alaska is above 6% (dark blue).