U.S. Unemployment Rates down in 38 states in May

June 22, 2020

For the month of May, jobless rates were lower in 38 states and the District of Columbia, higher in 3 states, and unchanged in 9 states based on a report by the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS). All 50 states and the District had jobless rate increases from last year. Whereas, there was a decrease in the national unemployment rate to 13.3% over the month but was 9.7% higher than in May 2019.

In addition, “Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 46 states, decreased in Hawaii and the District of Columbia, and was unchanged in 3 states in May 2020. Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment decreased in all 50 states and the District,” as stated by the BLS.

Unemployment rates

Notably, Nevada exhibited the highest jobless rate in May, 25.3%, followed Hawaii, 22.6%, and Michigan, 21.2%. The rates in Delaware (15.8%), Florida (14.5%), Massachusetts (16.3%), and Minnesota (9.9%) surpassed their previous series highs. Nebraska recorded the lowest unemployment rate, 5.2% in May. In total, 24 states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 13.3%, while 12 states had higher rates. Approximately 14 states had rates that were not noticeably different from that of the nation.

For May, Nevada, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Indiana had the largest over-the-month unemployment rate decreases by -5.7 percentage points, -5.6 points and -5.2 points, respectively. Rates decreased over the month by at least 2.0 percentage points in an additional 18 states. Minnesota, Connecticut, and Florida experienced over the month unemployment rate increases by +1.2 percentage points, +1.1 points and +0.7 point, respectively. Nine states had rates that were not notably different from those of a month earlier.

Furthermore, the largest jobless rate increase from May 2019 was observed in Nevada (+21.3 percentage points), Hawaii (+19.9 points), and Michigan (+17.0 points). However, 12 states experienced increases of 10.0 points or more. Moreover, the smallest jobless rate increases over the year were experienced in Nebraska (+2.1 percentage points) and the District of Columbia (+3.4 points).

Nonfarm Payroll Employment

In May 2020, nonfarm payroll employment rose in 46 states, declined in Hawaii and the District of Columbia, and remained stable in 3 states. The largest increases in employment occurred in Texas (+237,800), Pennsylvania (+198,300), and Florida (+182,900). The largest percentage increases were recorded in Vermont (+6.4%), Michigan (+5.2%), and Montana and Pennsylvania (+4.0% each). However, there were employment decreases in Hawaii (-6,000, or -1.1%) and the District (-9,100, or -1.2%).

Moreover, according to BLS, “All 50 states and the District of Columbia had over-the-year decreases in nonfarm payroll employment in May. The largest job declines occurred in California (-2,267,100), New York (-1,794,000), and Texas (-917,800). The smallest declines occurred in Wyoming (-26,900), South Dakota (-33,100), and Alaska (-40,700). The largest percentage declines occurred in Hawaii (-20.1%), Michigan (-19.2%), and New York (-18.3%). The smallest percentage declines occurred in Utah (-4.8%), Arizona (-5.7%), and Idaho (-5.9%).”

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