Ten States With the Lowest Unemployment

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released data Monday on the unemployment rates in the 50 states and District of Columbia. The numbers changed very little in January, the period for the current report. Forty-three states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rate decreases from December, one state had an increase and six states had no change at all. Every one of the 50 states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rate decreases from January 2013. For perspective, the national jobless rate for the January was 6.6%.

The 10 states with the lowest unemployment rates in January were: North Dakota (2.6%), Nebraska (3.5%), South Dakota (3.6%), Utah (3.9%), Vermont (4.0%), Wyoming (4.3%), Iowa (4.3%), Hawaii (4.6%), Minnesota (4.7%) and Kansas (4.8%). The BLS points out that some of these numbers may not be statistically significant if viewed by month.

Several of the states are in the BLS West North Central geographic area, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

In terms of what the BLS determined is statistically significant:

In January 2014, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 23 states and decreased in 27 states and the District of Columbia. The largest over-the-month increases in employment occurred in Texas (+33,900), Ohio (+16,700), and Arizona (+8,900). The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in California (-31,500), followed by Illinois (-27,600) and Kentucky (-18,500).

The largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment occurred in Vermont (+1.0 percent), followed by Rhode Island (+0.8 percent) and Nevada (+0.7 percent). The largest over-the-month percentage decline in employment occurred in Kentucky (-1.0 percent), followed by Alaska (-0.8 percent) and Connecticut and Delaware (-0.6 percent each).

Over the year, nonfarm employment increased in 46 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 4 states. The largest over-the-year percentage increase occurred in Nevada (+3.4 percent), followed by North Dakota (+3.3 percent) and Texas (+2.9 percent). The largest over-the-year percentage decreases in employment occurred in Kentucky and New Mexico (-0.3 percent each), followed by West Virginia (-0.2 percent).