State Employment and Unemployment — October 2021

Date: November 19, 2021

Unemployment rates dropped in October in 28 states and the District of Columbia and stable in 22 states, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Forty-five states and the district had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier and five states were little changed. The national unemployment rate, 4.6 percent, ticked down by 0.2 percentage points over the month and was 2.3 points below October 2020.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 25 states and the District of Columbia and was essentially unchanged in 25 states in October 2021. Over the year, 48 states and the District of Columbia added nonfarm payroll jobs and 2 states were essentially unchanged.


California and Nevada had the greatest unemployment rates in October, 7.3 percent each. Nebraska and Utah had the lowest jobless rates, 1.9 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. The rates in Georgia (3.1 percent), Nebraska (1.9 percent), Oklahoma (2.7 percent), Utah (2.2 percent), and West Virginia (4.3 percent) set new series lows. (All state series begin in 1976.) In total, 19 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 4.6 percent, 16 states and the District of Columbia had greater rates, and 15 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

In October, Arizona had the largest over-the-month unemployment rate decrease (-0.5 percentage point), closely followed by Connecticut, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Wyoming (-0.4 point each). Twenty-two states had jobless rates that were not markedly different from those of a month earlier, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes.

The largest unemployment rate falls from October 2020 occurred in Hawaii (-7.7 percentage points). The next largest over-the-year jobless rate drop was in Nevada (-4.7 percentage points), with another three states experiencing decreases of 3.0 points or more.

Nonfarm Payroll Employment

Nonfarm payroll employment climbed in 25 states and the District of Columbia and was essentially unchanged in 25 states in October 2021. The greatest job gains occurred in California (+96,800), Texas (+56,600), and New York (+43,900). The greatest percentage increases occurred in Louisiana (+1.9 percent), Alaska (+1.4 percent), and Michigan and the District (+0.9 percent each).

Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment grew in 48 states and the District of Columbia and was essentially unchanged in 2 states. The largest job increases occurred in California (+811,200), Texas (+661,300), and Florida (+428,600). The largest percentage gains occurred in Hawaii (+10.5 percent), Nevada (+7.6 percent), and Massachusetts (+5.9 percent).



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