The Free Press WV

Unemployment rates were lower in January in 3 states, higher in 3 states, and stable in 44 states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Nine states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier, 1 state had an increase, and 40 states and the District had little or no change. The national unemployment rate edged up to 4.0 percent over the month and was little changed from January 2018.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 13 states in January 2019 and was essentially unchanged in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Over the year, 26 states added nonfarm payroll jobs and 24 states and the District were essentially unchanged.


Iowa and New Hampshire had the lowest unemployment rates in January, 2.4 percent each. The rate in Vermont (2.5 percent) set a new series low. (All state series begin in 1976.) Alaska had the highest jobless rate, 6.5 percent. In total, 19 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 4.0 percent, 8 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 23 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

In January, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming had unemployment rate decreases (-0.1 percentage point each). The three states with rate increases were Arizona (+0.2 percentage point) and Georgia and Minnesota (+0.1 point each). The remaining 44 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.

Nine states had unemployment rate decreases from January 2018, the largest of which was in Connecticut (-0.8 percentage point). The only unemployment rate increase occurred in Colorado (+0.8 percentage point).

Nonfarm Payroll Employment

Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 13 states in January 2019. The largest job gains occurred in North Carolina (+34,700), Illinois (+24,400), and Virginia (+23,700). In percentage terms, the largest increase occurred in West Virginia (+1.1 percent), followed by North Carolina (+0.8 percent), and Idaho, Maine, Oregon, and Virginia (+0.6 percent each).

Twenty-six states had over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment in January. The largest job gains occurred in Texas (+292,000), California (+246,400), and Florida (+209,500). The largest percentage gain occurred in Nevada (+3.9 percent), followed by Utah (+3.4 percent) and Arizona (+2.8 percent).

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