U.S. May 2021 Unemployment Rates Down in 21 states and stable in 28

June 23, 2021

For the month of May, jobless rates were lower in 21 states and the District of Columbia, higher in 1 state and was unchanged in 28 states based on a report by the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS). The 50 states and the District all experienced jobless rate decreases from last year. The national unemployment rate was 5.8% over the month, a 0.3 percentage point decline over the month.

Moreover, “nonfarm payroll employment increased in 14 states, decreased in 1 state, and was essentially unchanged in 35 states and the District of Columbia in May 2021. Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased in all states and the District,” as stated by the BLS.

Unemployment rates

Notably, Hawaii exhibited the highest jobless rate of 8.1% in May. Whereas the rates in California was 7.9%, and New Mexico was 8.0%. New Hampshire had the lowest unemployment rate of 2.5% followed by Nebraska and Vermont with 2.6% each. In total, 27 states experienced unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 5.8%, 12 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 11 states experienced unemployment rates that were not noticeably different from that of the nation.

For May, Delaware and Rhode Island had the largest over-the-month unemployment rate decrease by 0.5 percentage point, followed by Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, and South Carolina with -0.4 point each. Twenty-eight states had jobless rates that were not notably 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 decline from May 2020 was observed in Nevada (-16.7 percentage points). The next largest over-the-year rate decline was recorded in Michigan (-15.8 percentage points) Hawaii (-13.8 points), and New Hampshire (-10.9 points). The smallest over-the-year jobless rate decreases occurred in the District of Columbia (-1.7 percentage points) and New Mexico (-2.0 points).

Nonfarm Payroll Employment

In May 2021, nonfarm payroll employment grew in 14 states, fell in one, and was essentially constant in 35 states and the District of Columbia. California (+104,500), Florida (+39,900), and Texas (+34,400) saw the most job growth. The highest percentage gains were in New Mexico (+1.1%), Nevada (+0.8%), and Hawaii (+0.7%). Wyoming’s employment decreased (-3,800, or -1.4%).

Nonfarm payroll employment rose in all states and the District of Columbia throughout the year. California (+1,220,200), New York (+882,500), and Texas (+804,200) saw the most job growth. Nevada (+19.2%), Michigan (+16.8%), and Rhode Island (+13.0%) saw the highest percentage increases.

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