U.S. Unemployment Rates Down in 37 states in October

November 23, 2020

For the month of October, jobless rates were lower in 37 states, higher in 8 states, and unchanged in 5 states and the District of Columbia based on a report by the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS). Forty-seven states and the District experienced jobless rate increases from last year, and three states had little or no change. There was a 1.0 percentage point decrease in the national unemployment rate to 6.9% over the month but was 3.3 percentage points higher than in October 2019.

In addition, “nonfarm payroll employment increased in 32 states, decreased in 2 states, and was essentially unchanged in 16 states and the District of Columbia in October 2020. Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment decreased in 48 states and the District and was essentially unchanged in 2 states,” as stated by the BLS.

Unemployment rates

Notably, Hawaii exhibited the highest jobless rate in October, 14.3%, followed by Nevada, 12.0%. The rates in Nebraska (3.0%) and Vermont (3.2%) were the lowest. In total, 26 states experienced unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 6.9%, 9 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 15 states experienced unemployment rates that were not noticeably different from that of the nation.

For October, Illinois had the largest over-the-month unemployment rate decrease by 3.6 percentage points, followed by Rhode Island (-3.5 points). Rates decreased over the month by at least 2.0 percentage points in an additional 6 states. Kentucky (+1.8 percentage points) observed the largest increase in the unemployment rate over the month.

Furthermore, from the forty-seven states and the District of Columbia that experienced increases in jobless rates from October 2019, the largest rates were observed in Hawaii (+11.6 percentage points) and Nevada (+8.3 points).

Nonfarm Payroll Employment

In October 2020, nonfarm payroll employment rose in 32 states, fell in 2 states, and was stable in 16 states and the District of Columbia. The largest increases in employment occurred in California (+145,500), Texas (+118,100), and Florida (+51,600). The largest percentage increases were recorded in Alaska (+2.9%), Hawaii (+2.0%), and Louisiana and Wyoming (+1.2% each). However, employment declined in Wisconsin (-14,700, or -0.5%) and New Hampshire (-3,700, or -0.6%).

Moreover, according to BLS, “over the year, nonfarm payroll employment decreased in 48 states and the District of Columbia and was essentially unchanged in 2 states. The largest job declines occurred in California (-1,369,400), New York (-1,015,500), and Texas (-499,200). The largest percentage declines occurred in Hawaii (-17.3%), New York (-10.4%), and Vermont (-9.3%).”


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