Economy Watch: Employment Stable in Most States

Unemployment rates were higher in August in only eight states, lower in one state, and stable in 41 states and D.C., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics latest jobs report.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Employment and Unemployment, August 2017
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Employment and Unemployment, August 2017

Employment seems to have stabilized, at least in most parts of the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates were higher in August in only eight states, lower in one state, and stable in 41 states and the District of Columbia, compared with July.

Twenty-one states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, one state suffered an increase, and 28 states and the District had little or no change—again pointing to slow overall change in the employment picture. The national unemployment rate, 4.4 percent, was little changed from July but was 0.5 percentage points lower than in August 2016.

North Dakota and Colorado had the lowest unemployment rates in August, 2.3 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively, according to the BLS. The rate in Tennessee (3.3 percent) set a new low in the last 40 years. (All of the bureau’s state series begin in 1976.) Alaska had the highest jobless rate in August 2017, coming in at 7.2 percent.

The largest job gains occurred since this time last year were in Texas (up 298,600 net new jobs), California (up 265,100) and Florida (up 221,400). The largest percentage gain occurred in Nevada (up 3 percent), followed by Georgia (up 2.7 percent) and Florida and Utah (up 2.6 percent each).