The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently issued its Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary, which takes an in-depth look at which parts of the nation have strong job situations and which are struggling to gain workforce stability. The report revealed that although the country’s labor situation improved as a whole, certain areas performed better than others.
Strong job growth seen in a number of states
The state with the lowest unemployment rate in April was Nebraska which had a jobless average of 2.5 percent – less than half the national average of 5.4 percent. Nebraska was the only state to achieve an unemployment rate below 3 percent. The state’s average showed significant improvement from last year’s rate, which was still strong at 3.4 percent. The Washington Times explained that the state’s most notable industry expansions were seen in the education and health services sector, which grew by nearly 5,000 positions since April 2014. Other fields that experienced growth included financial activities and other services.
A number of states were able to keep their unemployment rates below 4 percent in April, including North Dakota, which experienced a jobless rate of 3.1 percent, and Utah at 3.4 percent. Both Vermont and South Dakota had unemployment averages of 3.6 percent, while Minnesota’s rate hit 3.7 percent. New Hampshire, Iowa and Idaho all had unemployment rates of 3.8 percent. USA Today noted that despite these numbers being quite strong, North and South Dakota both experienced year-over-year rises to their unemployment rates. This is likely because oil is an integral part of both states’ economies, and oil prices have been steadily dropping throughout the past year.
High unemployment rates remain an issue in certain regions
While many states were below or on par with the national average, a number of areas struggled to maintain a positive labor situation in April. The highest unemployment rate in the country was seen in the District of Columbia, which hit a jobless average of 7.5 percent. USA Today explained that this high rate of joblessness is due to an increase in federal job cuts, because the government is one of the main employers in this area.
Nevada, a state where 7.1 percent of people were searching for work, was the only other state with an unemployment rate exceeding 7 percent. USA Today noted that this is because of the state’s dependency on casinos and hotels, many of which have been experiencing financial difficulties. Nevada Public Radio explained that despite this, however, the state actually created jobs in April and will likely see improvements to its overall labor situation in the near future.
West Virginia had an unemployment rate of 7 percent, which USA Today reported is connected with dwindling stability in the coal mining industry. Some states that had jobless rates between 6 and 7 percent included Alaska, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Carolina. Many states had unemployment rates that were fairly close to the national average of 5.4 percent.