The national unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in July 2019. Among the states, Vermont had the lowest unemployment rate (2.1 percent), followed by North Dakota (2.4 percent), and Iowa and New Hampshire (2.5 percent each). July unemployment rates were also at or below 3.0 percent in nine other states: Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. In total, July unemployment rates were at or below 4.0 percent in 37 states.
Alaska’s 6.3 percent unemployment rate was the highest of any state. The next highest rates in July 2019 were in the District of Columbia (5.6 percent) and Mississippi (5.1 percent).
The national unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points between July 2018 and July 2019. Among the states, Alabama, Louisiana, and New Jersey saw unemployment fall the most over the year (-0.7 percentage points each), followed by Ohio and Vermont (-0.6 percentage points each), and West Virginia and Wyoming (-0.5 percentage points each).
The unemployment rate increased the most over the year in Minnesota (0.6 percentage points) and Nebraska, North Carolina, and Mississippi (0.4 percentage points in all three states). In total, 13 states and the District of Columbia saw their unemployment rates increase over the year, and 10 states saw no change.
Total national (public and private) nonfarm payroll employment increased 1.5 percent from July 2018 to July 2019. Among the states, the largest year-over-year increases were in Nevada and Utah (3.1 percent each) and Washington (3.0 percent). In total, 10 states saw employment increase 2.0 percent or more over the year.
Louisiana was the only state that saw total nonfarm employment decline over the year (-0.1 percent).
Total national public-sector employment (federal, state, and local) increased 0.4 percent from July 2018 to July 2019. Among the states, the largest year-over-year increases were in Nevada (2.5 percent), New Mexico (2.4 percent), and Delaware (2.0 percent). In total, 14 states saw public employment increase 1.0 percent or more over the year.
Public-sector employment declined over the year in 12 states and the District of Columbia. The largest declines were in New Hampshire and Vermont (-1.9 percent each), West Virginia (-1.6 percent), Indiana (-1.3 percent), and Connecticut (-1.0 percent).