Unemployment Rate By State 2019

One of the main indicators of the state of the United States economy is the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate is reported every month by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The unemployment rate is not only a measure of the economy’s strength but also a measure of the overall happiness and wellbeing of U.S. citizens. Long-term unemployment is a burden for many and can cause financial, emotional, and psychological ruin. A person’s ability to provide for themselves and their family, pay their bills, and contribute to society are key factors in maintaining a happy life and cultural wellbeing.

There are three types of unemployment, all of which help explain why there is unemployment at a given time.

  • Frictional unemployment is caused by temporary transitions people make when moving to a new location, entering or re-entering the workforce, or switching from one job to another in search of better pay or a better fit of their skills. Frictional unemployment is also caused by employers laying off or hesitating to hire employees for reasons unrelated to the economy.
  • Structural unemployment happens when there is a mismatch in the demographic or industrial composition of a local economy. This happens when new technology causes a decline in older industries, which must then lay off workers to stay competitive. Outsourcing is also a part of structural unemployment.
  • Cyclical unemployment occurs when there is not enough demand for goods and services in the economy at large to provide jobs for everyone. This is a natural result of capitalism.

The current national unemployment rate is 3.7%. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the unemployment rate varies between states, ranging from 2.10% to 6.40%. In general, the current unemployment rates in the states are lower than they were in 2018, with only a few exceptions.

Below is each state's unemployment rates in 2018 for comparison.

In 2019, Alaska has the highest unemployment rate of 6.40%. This, however, is lower than its 2018 unemployment rate of 7.30%. The higher unemployment rates can be attributed to the seasonality of jobs, the natural frictional unemployment, and the population that lives a subsistence lifestyle.

Vermont currently has the lowest unemployment rate of 2.10%, down from 2.80% in 2018. Business owners, however, considered the low unemployment rate to a problem as they are quickly growing and will have trouble finding qualified workers in Vermont. Ultimately, Vermont business owners think the unemployment rate is too low.

Below is each state’s unemployment rate for 2019.

State Unemployment Rank Unemployment Rate 2019 Pop.
Vermont12.10%627,180
North Dakota22.30%760,900
Iowa32.40%3,167,997
New Hampshire42.50%1,363,852
Hawaii52.80%1,416,589
Idaho52.80%1,790,182
Utah52.80%3,221,610
South Dakota82.90%892,631
Virginia82.90%8,571,946
Wisconsin82.90%5,832,661
Colorado113.00%5,770,545
Massachusetts113.00%6,939,373
Nebraska113.00%1,940,919
Delaware143.20%975,033
Maine143.20%1,342,097
Oklahoma143.20%3,948,950
Minnesota173.30%5,655,925
Missouri173.30%6,147,861
Florida193.40%21,646,155
Kansas193.40%2,910,931
Tennessee193.40%6,833,793
Texas193.40%29,087,070
Alabama233.50%4,898,246
Arkansas233.50%3,026,412
Indiana233.50%6,718,616
Montana233.50%1,074,532
New Jersey233.50%8,922,547
South Carolina233.50%5,147,111
Wyoming233.50%572,381
Rhode Island303.60%1,056,738
Connecticut313.70%3,567,871
Georgia313.70%10,627,767
Maryland333.80%6,062,917
Pennsylvania333.80%12,813,969
Nevada354.00%3,087,025
New York354.00%19,491,339
Ohio354.00%11,718,568
Kentucky384.10%4,484,047
North Carolina384.10%10,497,741
Oregon384.10%4,245,901
California414.20%39,747,267
Michigan414.20%10,020,472
Illinois434.30%12,700,381
Louisiana434.30%4,652,581
Washington454.60%7,666,343
West Virginia464.70%1,791,951
Arizona474.90%7,275,070
New Mexico474.90%2,096,034
Mississippi495.00%2,987,895
District of Columbia505.60%711,571
Alaska516.40%735,720