February was a strong month for U.S. labor, with all 50 states and the District of Columbia experiencing declines in their unemployment rates. According to the The Washington Post, this phenomenon had not occurred since 1984.
Illinois experienced the largest drop in unemployment, with its rate falling by 2 percentage points to 7.1 percent. Ohio, North Carolina and Colorado were not far behind, each state reducing its jobless rate by 1.8 percent. Alaska and North Dakota only saw drops of .1 percent, but the latter state was home to the nation’s lowest unemployment rate of just 3.3 percent. The Washington Post reported that South Dakota had a similarly positive labor situation with a jobless rate of 3.4 percent. Overall, 14 states reported rates below 5 percent. The highest averages came from Mississippi and Nevada, which both clocked in at 7.8 percent.
The national employment-population ratio went up by .4 points to 59 percent, noted the official report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. All four regions of the country had over-the-year-increases in this area, with the highest improvements being seen in Hawaii and Indiana.