Economy Watch: Unemployment Rates Among the States Mostly Static

While U.S. employment has recovered considerably since the Great Recession, the rate of recovery is now slow to nil.

There’s some evidence that unemployment rates are stabilizing in many parts of the country, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report on regional and state employment, which was released on Friday. One takeaway: employment has recovered considerably since the recession, but now the rate of recovery is slow to nil.

Compared with May, unemployment rates were significantly higher in June in six states, lower in only one state, and stable in 43 states and the District of Columbia, the BLS reported. Compared with the same month a year ago, 16 states and D.C. had notable unemployment rate decreases, two states suffered increases, and 32 states saw no significant change.

Though battered by the oil slump, South Dakota continued to experience the lowest unemployment rate among the states, at 2.7 percent, possibly because the influx of workers has virtually stopped, and people unable to find energy-sector work have left the state. Alaska had the highest unemployment rate, 6.7 percent.

The national jobless rate in June rose by 0.2 percentage points from May to 4.9 percent but was 0.4 percentage points lower than in June 2015. That month-over-month rise was probably a good sign, as more people believed they had a shot at getting into the workforce, and therefore began looking for work (and so were counted as unemployed).