Economy Watch: State Unemployment Rates Mostly Flat in June

Thirty-eight states and D.C. had stable unemployment rates for the month, while 10 states saw decreases and two states saw increases, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Unemployment rates were lower in June in 10 states, higher in two states, and stable in 38 states and the District of Columbia, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. Twenty-seven states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier and 23 states and D.C. had little or no change. (The national unemployment rate, as reported earlier in the month, came in at 4.4 percent, which was little changed from May but was 0.5 percentage point lower than in June 2016.)

Colorado and North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rates among the states and D.C. in June, coming in at 2.3 percent each. Colorado has benefited from an economy less dependent on energy than it once was, and significant job growth in metro Denver in particular. For its part, despite being an energy-oriented state, North Dakota is the kind of place people leave if job opportunities shrink, thus keeping the unemployment rate near its energy-boom lows.

Record lows

The rates in North Dakota and Tennessee (3.6 percent) set new series lows, the bureau said. That is, those states are enjoying their lowest unemployment rates in more than 40 years. At the other end of the spectrum, Alaska had the highest jobless rate at 6.8 percent, followed by New Mexico at 6.4 percent.

Twenty-seven states had unemployment rate changes from June 2016, all of which were decreases. The largest of these declines occurred in Wyoming (down 1.6 percentage points) and Indiana (down 1.5 points), closely followed by Oregon and West Virginia (down 1.4 points each).