U.S.: State Employment and Unemployment Summary

March 23, 2018

Unemployment rates were lower in February for 7 states and stable in the remaining 43 states and the District of Columbia, based on data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fifteen states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, while 35 states along with the District had little or no change. In spite of this, the national unemployment rate was unchanged from January at 4.1 percent but was 0.6 percentage point lower than in February 2017.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 11 states in February 2018 and was essentially unchanged in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Over the year, 24 states added nonfarm payroll jobs, the remaining 26 states and the District were essentially unchanged.


Hawaii reflected the lowest unemployment rate in February, of 2.1 percent. Other states that recorded low unemployment rates were California (4.3 percent), Maine (2.9 percent), Mississippi (4.5 percent), and Wisconsin (2.9 percent). However, Alaska had the highest jobless rate of 7.3 percent.

In total, 18 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 23 states had rates that were on par with the average national figure.

Nonfarm Payroll Employment

Eleven states had over-the-month increases in nonfarm payroll employment in February 2018. The largest over-the-month increases in employment occurred in Texas (+40,500), New York (+28,000), and Florida (+26,700). In percentage terms, the largest increases occurred in Tennessee and Virginia (+0.5 percent each), followed by Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and South Carolina (+0.4 percent each).

Twenty-four states had over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment in February. The largest job gains occurred in California (+383,600), Texas (+285,200), and Florida (+167,800). The largest percentage gain occurred in Idaho (+3.4 percent), followed by Nevada and Utah (+3.2 percent each).


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