3 States Have Unemployment Under 3%

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As unemployment dropped to 4.9% in February, three states had unemployment rates of under 3%. They were New Hampshire at 2.7%, South Dakota at 2.7%, and North Dakota at 2.9%.

Many economists consider 5% “full employment”  According to column in The New York Times, experts place the range at 5% to 5.5%, although the rate averaged 4% in 1980.

What the states for in common may be coincidence. All three have very small populations, compared to most other states. Vermont ranks No. 49 with a population of 626,000. North Dakota ranks No. 47 with a population of 757,000. South Dakota ranks No. 46 with a population of 858,000. All three also sit in regions in which adjacent to or near states have low jobless rates.

Residents in some states are not so fortunate. According to an analysis by 24/7 Wall St.:

Six states lagged well behind that with jobless rates above 6%, which shows how uneven the rebound from the recession has been.

The six states included, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Alaska at 6.6%, Mississippi at 6.5%, West Virginia at 6.5%, Illinois at 6.4%, New Mexico at 6.4% and Alabama at 6.2%.

For the month overall, BLS researchers wrote:

Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in February. Twenty-two states had unemployment rate decreases from January, 8 states had increases, and 20 states and the District of Columbia had no change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, 10 states had increases, and 3 states had no change. The national jobless rate, 4.9 percent, was unchanged from January and was 0.6 percentage point lower than in February 2015.



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