State unemployment rate in the U.S. in May 2016 (seasonally adjusted)

This table ranks the 51 states of the U.S. by their unemployment rate. In May 2016, South Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate in the United States. 2.5 percent of the population of South Dakota were unemployed in May 2016. The highest unemployment rate was recorded in Alaska, with 6.7 percent unemployment.


Unemployment in the U.S.

A person is considered unemployed if they have no job and are currently looking for a job and available to work. The unemployment rate in the United States varies across states. During this time, the state unemployment rate in West Virginia was among the highest in the country at 7.4 percent while, Nebraska had the lowest rate at 2.6 percent. Nation-wide unemployment reached 5.3 percent as of July 2015 and has been steadily decreasing over the last year. Unemployment can be affected by various factors including economic conditions, global competition, and demographics. During economic prosperity, unemployment rates generally decrease and during times of recession, rates increase, such as during the recessions in 2001 and 2007 to 2009. Many Americans believe that job creation should be one of the most important priorities set by the government. Since 1990, the country’s unemployment rate reached a low of 4 percent in 2000 and a high in 2011 at 9.6 percent (193290). It has been argued that the definition of unemployment is too narrow and does not include some groups of people, such as the “underemployed” and the “hidden unemployed”, which account for about 3.3 million Americans. The lack of inclusion of these groups may indicate that the unemployment rate in the country is higher than officially indicated.

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StateUnemployment rate
Alaska 6.7%
Illinois 6.4%
Louisiana 6.3%
New Mexico 6.2%
West Virginia 6.2%
District of Columbia 6.1%
Alabama 6.1%
Nevada 6.1%
Mississippi 5.8%
Washington 5.8%
Connecticut 5.7%
Wyoming 5.6%
South Carolina 5.6%
Arizona 5.6%
Pennsylvania 5.5%
Rhode Island 5.4%
Georgia 5.3%
California 5.2%
Kentucky 5.1%
North Carolina 5.1%
Ohio 5.1%
Indiana 5%
New Jersey 4.9%
Oklahoma 4.7%
New York 4.7%
Michigan 4.7%
Florida 4.7%
Maryland 4.5%
Oregon 4.5%
Texas 4.4%
Missouri 4.3%
Massachusetts 4.2%
Montana 4.2%
Wisconsin 4.2%
Delaware 4.1%
Tennessee 4.1%
Iowa 3.9%
Arkansas 3.8%
Utah 3.8%
Minnesota 3.8%
Virginia 3.8%
Kansas 3.7%
Idaho 3.7%
Maine 3.5%
Colorado 3.4%
Hawaii 3.2%
North Dakota 3.2%
Vermont 3.1%
Nebraska 3%
New Hampshire 2.7%
South Dakota 2.5%
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