Unemployment is subject to seasonal fluctuations. It is typically higher during the winter when construction work and other outdoor occupations are in low demand. That is why monthly unemployment statistics are often adjusted, based on these fluctuations, for the sake of comparability. The U.S. unemployment rate was at 3.9 percent in 2018, and has declined from 4.4 percent in 2017. Recent trends show a recovering job market. Unemployment has declined from a peak of 9.6 percent in 2010.
Unemployment figures in the U.S. vary dramatically from state to state. According to this state unemployment ranking by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates ranged from 2.1 percent in Vermont to 6.4 percent in Alaska in May 2019. The unemployment rate in California , the state with the largest GDP, was relatively high at 4.2 percent in 2018. Washington's and New York's unemployment rates were also above the national average that year. From an international perspective the, U.S. unemployment rate is relatively low. The average unemployment rate in the European Union was almost twice as high as the average unemployment rate in the United States as of April 2019.