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Vermont Had the Lowest Unemployment Rate in May, at 2.1 Percent

Unemployment rates were lower in May in 6 states, higher in 2 states, and stable…

  • July 7, 2019

Unemployment rates were lower in May in 6 states, higher in 2 states, and stable in 42 states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Five states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, 1 state had an increase, and 44 states and the District had little or no change. The national unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent in May and was little changed from May 2018.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased in Washington in May 2019 and was essentially unchanged in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

Over the year, 24 states added nonfarm payroll jobs and 26 states and the District were essentially unchanged.

This news release presents statistics from two monthly programs. The civilian labor force and unemployment data are modeled based largely on a survey of households.

These data pertain to individuals by where they reside. The employment data come from an establishment survey that measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry.

These data pertain to jobs on payrolls defined by where the establishments are located. For more information about the concepts and statistical methodologies used by these two programs, see the Technical Note.

Vermont had the lowest unemployment rate in May, 2.1 percent. The rates in Texas (3.5 percent) and Vermont (2.1 percent) set new series lows. (All state series begin in 1976.)

Alaska had the highest jobless rate, 6.4 percent.

In total, 12 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 3.6 percent, 9 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 29 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

In May, six states had unemployment rate decreases, the largest of which was in Texas (-0.2 percentage point). Two states had over-the-month rate increases: Nebraska and South Carolina (+0.1 percentage point each).

The remaining 42 states and the District of Columbia had jobless rates that were not notably different from those of a month earlier, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes.

Five states had unemployment rate decreases from May 2018. The largest declines were in Delaware and Vermont (-0.6 percentage point each), closely followed by Wyoming (-0.5 point). The only unemployment rate increase over the year occurred in Hawaii (+0.5 percentage point).