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.
As of April 2022, the national unemployment rate is 3.4%. The unemployment rate varies between states, ranging from 1.9% to 5.3%. In general, the current unemployment rates in the states are lower than they have been in the past 4 years, with few exceptions.
New Mexico has the highest unemployment rate of 5.3%. This is followed by Nevada at 5.0% and Alaska at 4.9%. The majority of states have an unemployment rate between three and five percent.
Nebraska and Utah are the only states with unemployment rates below 2.0%. Both of these states have an unemployment rate of 1.9% which is exceptionally low. This means that job growth has been good in both states as they have received from the economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.