While it is good to see the national unemployment rate drop, it is even better to see the improvement spread across virtually the entire country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that, in April, the jobless rate improved in 43 states.
Still, there were some states with unemployment rates more than a point above the national average, and several had rates well below it, according to the BLS:
Rhode Island had the highest unemployment rate among the states in April, 8.3 percent. North Dakota again had the lowest jobless rate, 2.6 percent. In total, 19 states had unemployment rates significantly lower than the U.S. figure of 6.3 percent, 7 states and the District of Columbia had measurably higher rates, and 24 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.
In April, Illinois and Nevada had the largest over-the-month unemployment rate declines (-0.5 percentage point each). Eighteen additional states had smaller but also statistically significant rate decreases. The remaining 30 states and the District of Columbia had jobless rates that were not measurably different from those of a month earlier, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes.
South Carolina (-2.6 percentage points) and North Carolina (-2.2 points) had the largest unemployment rate declines from April 2013. Thirty-one additional states had smaller but also statistically significant rate decreases over the year. The remaining 17 states and the District of Columbia had rates that were not appreciably different from those of a year earlier.
The thinly populated Plains States continue to be the center of low unemployment rates. Not only did North Dakota have a rate of only 2.6%, in Montana the rate was 4.8%, in South Dakota 3.8%, in Wyoming 3.7% and in Nebraska 3.6%.
The states that took the brunt of the job losses during the recession continue to suffer, at least in comparison to the balance of the nation. California’s rate was 7.8% in April, Nevada’s 8%, Illinois’s 7.9% and Michigan’s 7.4%.