State Employment and Unemployment Summary

January 23,2018

Unemployment rates were lower in December in 6 states, higher in 1 state, and stable in 43 states, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The national unemployment rate was unchanged from November at 4.1 percent but was 0.6 percentage point lower than in December 2016.

Nonfarm payroll remained stable across majority of states, increasing in 10 and declining in only 3. The largest increase in employment over the month occurred in California (+52,700), followed by Florida (+27,400) and Oregon (+14,700). In percentage terms, the largest increase occurred in Wyoming (+1.1 percent), followed by Montana and Oregon (+0.8 percent each). Three states had over-the-month decreases in nonfarm payroll employment in December: Maryland (-20,200, or -0.7 percent), Arkansas (-6,500,or -0.5 percent), and New Hampshire (-4,700, or -0.7 percent).

Twenty-five states had unemployment rate decreases from December 2016. The largest declines occurred in Alabama and Tennessee (-2.8 percentage points and -1.9 points, respectively). The only over-the-year rate increases were in Alaska and South Dakota (+0.7 percentage point and +0.6 point, respectively). 

Hawaii had the lowest unemployment rate in December, 2.0 percent. The rates in California (4.3 percent), Hawaii (2.0 percent), and Mississippi (4.6 percent) set new series lows. Alaska had the highest jobless rate, 7.3 percent. In total, 16 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 4.1 percent, 9 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 25 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.