Unemployment rates hit record low in 13 states this year

By Reid Wilson

The Hill

Jobs are up and unemployment is down!

Thirteen states this year have seen their unemployment rates drop to the lowest levels ever recorded since the federal government began keeping track of state-level data more than fouty yeas ago.

Eight years after the bottom of the worst recession in modern history, the states seeing economic booms range from the bluest of the blue, like Hawaii and California, to the deepest shades of red, like Idaho and Texas.

In October, the unemployment rates in Alabama, Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Washington all met or beat their lowest rates ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), according to the agency’s monthly report issued Friday.

California, Colorado, Idaho, North Dakota and Oregon also hit new lows earlier this year.

In 2010, during the depths of the Great Recession, six states — California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina — notched record-high unemployment rates. Oregon, Rhode Island and Kansas set their own record highs in 2009.

Nationally, the unemployment rate sits at 4.1 percent, the lowest level since December 2000, when it hit 3.9 percent. Thirteen states have unemployment rates significantly below the national rate, while 15 states have rates significantly above it.

Hawaii boasts the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, at just 2.2 percent in October, followed by North Dakota, at 2.5 percent, and Colorado, Nebraska and New Hampshire, at 2.7 percent each.

Alaska’s unemployment rate, 7.2 percent, remains the highest in the nation, followed by the District of Columbia, at 6.6 percent, and New Mexico, at 6.1 percent.

In the last year, Alabama’s unemployment rate has plunged the most, 2.5 percentage points, BLS reported. Tennessee’s unemployment rate has dropped 2 percentage points, from 5 percent to 3 percent. Only two states — Alaska and South Dakota — and the District of Columbia have seen their unemployment rates rise in the last 12 months.

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