Jobless Rates Down in 43 States in 2013; Employment-population Ratios Down in 28 states

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—February 28, 2014. In 2013, annual average unemployment rates declined in 43 states and the District of Columbia, rose in 2 states, and were unchanged in 5 states, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment-population ratios decreased in 28 states, increased in 17 states and the District of Columbia, and were unchanged in 5 states. The U.S. jobless rate declined by 0.7 percentage point from the prior year to 7.4 percent, and the national employment-population ratio was unchanged at 58.6 percent.

Regional Unemployment

All four regions experienced statistically significant unemployment rate decreases from 2012, with the West having the largest decline (-1.2 percentage points). The West, at 8.0 percent, had the only jobless rate significantly higher than that of the U.S. in 2013, while the South, at 7.0 percent, had the only rate significantly below the national figure. (See table 1.)

Six of the 9 geographic divisions had statistically significant over-the-year unemployment rate changes in 2013, all of which were decreases. The largest of these occurred in the Pacific and South Atlantic (-1.4 percentage points and -1.0 point, respectively). For the sixth year in a row, the Pacific had the highest unemployment rate, 8.4 percent in 2013. Three other divisions had rates significantly higher than the U.S. average.

The West North Central division again had the lowest jobless rate, 5.2 percent. Two other divisions, the West South Central and Mountain, at 6.3 percent and 7.0 percent, respectively, had rates significantly below the national figure.

State Unemployment

In 2013, 25 states and the District of Columbia had statistically significant unemployment rate decreases, the largest of which were in Nevada (-1.7 percentage points), Florida (-1.6 points), and California (-1.5 points). Six additional states had decreases greater than 1.0 percentage point. The remaining 25 states had annual average unemployment rates for 2013 that were not appreciably different from those of the previous year, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes. (See table A.)

Nevada again had the highest unemployment rate (9.8 percent) in 2013, followed by Rhode Island (9.5 percent) and Illinois (9.2 percent). North Dakota had the lowest jobless rate among the states for the fifth year in a row (2.9 percent), followed by South Dakota (3.8 percent) and Nebraska (3.9 percent). Overall, 25 states had unemployment rates that were significantly lower than the U.S. rate of 7.4 percent, while 11 states and the District of Columbia had rates significantly above it. (See table B.)

Regional Employment-Population Ratios

In 2013, no region had a statistically significant change in its employment-population ratio–the proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and over who are employed. The Midwest continued to have the highest ratio, 60.5 percent, while the South, at 57.8 percent, had the lowest, followed by the West, at 57.9 percent. The ratios in these three regions were significantly different from the national figure of 58.6 percent. (See table 2.)

The East South Central was the only division with a statistically significant change in its employment-population ratio in 2013 (-0.8 percentage point). The East South Central again had the lowest proportion of employed persons, 54.4 percent. The next lowest ratios were in the Pacific (57.4 percent), South Atlantic (57.7 percent), and Middle Atlantic (58.0 percent). Ratios in all four of these divisions were significantly below the national average. The division with the highest employment-population ratio was the West North Central, at 64.8 percent, followed by New England, at 60.9 percent. These two divisions, along with the West South Central, at 59.6 percent, had employment-population ratios measurably above that of the U.S.

State Employment-Population Ratios

In 2013, the largest employment-population ratio decrease among the states occurred in Tennessee (-.1 percentage points), followed by Arkansas and North Dakota (-1.0 point each). Five other states also had statistically significant decreases in their ratios. Utah had the largest increase in its employment-population ratio among the states (+1.4 percentage points). California and Florida had the only other statistically significant increases in their ratios over the year (+0.5 percentage point each). (See table C.)

West Virginia again had the lowest employment-population ratio among the states, 50.1 percent in 2013. West Virginia has had the lowest employment-population ratio each year since the series began in 1976. Four states in the West North Central division again had the highest ratios: North Dakota (69.4 percent), Nebraska (69.2 percent), South Dakota (67.2 percent), and Minnesota (66.8 percent). Overall, 22 states and the District of Columbia had employment-population ratios that were significantly above the U.S. ratio of 58.6 percent, and 18 states had ratios that were appreciably below it. Three states had the lowest employment-population ratios in their series in 2013: Delaware, 56.7 percent; Nevada, 57.2 percent; and Oregon, 56.7 percent. (See table D.)

To view the tables referenced above, see: