The national unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in May 2019. Among the states, Vermont had the lowest unemployment rate (2.1 percent), followed by North Dakota (2.3 percent), and Iowa and New Hampshire (both 2.4 percent). May unemployment rates were also below 3.0 percent in five other states: Hawaii, Idaho, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin. In total, May unemployment rates were at or below 4.0 percent in 37 states.
Alaska’s 6.4 percent unemployment rate was the highest of any state, followed by the District of Columbia (5.7 percent), and New Mexico and Mississippi (both 5.0 percent).
The national unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points between May 2018 and May 2019. The unemployment rate fell the most over the year in Delaware, Louisiana, Nevada, and Vermont (each -0.6 percentage points).
The unemployment rate increased the most over the year in Hawaii (0.5 percentage points) and Minnesota (0.4 percentage points). In total, 15 states saw their unemployment rate increase over the year.
Total national (public and private) nonfarm payroll employment increased 1.6 percent from May 2018 to May 2019. Among the states, the largest year-over-year increases were in Nevada (4.0 percent), followed by Utah and Washington (both 2.8 percent). In total, eight states saw their total employment increase 2.0 percent or more over the year.
No state saw a decline in total nonfarm employment over the year. Louisiana’s 0.1 percent increase in total employment was the smallest of any state.
Total national public-sector employment increased 0.4 percent from May 2018 to May 2019. Among the states, the largest year-over-year increases were in Delaware (2.1 percent), Utah (1.9 percent), Vermont (1.8 percent), and Oregon and Idaho (both 1.5 percent). In total, 11 states saw their public employment increase 1.0 percent or more over the year.
Public-sector employment declined over the year in 14 states and the District of Columbia. The largest declines were in West Virginia (-5.2 percent), Indiana (-2.0 percent), New Hampshire (-1.3 percent), Wisconsin (-1.1 percent), and Washington (-0.6 percent).