The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported unemployment rates to be more or less level in January, with changes showing among six states. Three states showed higher rates of unemployment, while three others showed decreases. Meanwhile, the District of Columbia and 44 other states remained stable. Nine states experienced decreases in jobless rates from the previous year, while one state had an increase and 40, including Washington, D.C., experienced little to no changes. The national unemployment rate rose to 4 percent over the month, producing a slight change from January 2018.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 13 states in January 2019 and was essentially unchanged in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Throughout the year, 26 states increased in nonfarm payroll jobs and 24 states, including Washington, D.C., were mostly unchanged.


Iowa and New Hampshire had the lowest unemployment rates in January, at 2.4 percent each.

Vermont set a new series low at 2.5 percent, while Alaska experienced the highest unemployment rate at 6.5 percent. In total, 19 states had an unemployment rate lower than the U.S. average of 4 percent, eight states, including the District of Columbia, reported higher rates than the U.S. average, and 23 states reported rates that were unnoticeably different from the national average.

In January, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming had unemployment rate decreases of 0.1 percentage points each, while Arizona experienced a 0.2 percentage point decrease and Georgia and Minnesota saw drops of 0.1 points each. The remaining 44 states, including the District of Columbia, had unemployment rates unnoticeably different from those of a month earlier.

Nine states had unemployment rate decreases from January of 2018—the largest of which was in Connecticut, where there was drop of 0.8 percentage points. The only unemployment rate increase occurred in Colorado, at 0.8 percentage points.

Nonfarm Payroll Employment

Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 13 states in January 2019. The largest gains occurred in North Carolina, as the state reported to have added 34,700 jobs. Illinois follows with 24,400 jobs, and Virginia closes with an addition of 23,700 jobs.

In percentage terms, the largest increase occurred in West Virginia, at 1.1 percent, followed by North Carolina at 0.8 percent, and Idaho, Maine, Oregon and Virginia, at 0.6 percent each.

Twenty-six states had over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment in January. The   largest job gains occurred in Texas, at a rate of 292,000 jobs, followed by California, with 246,400 jobs, and Florida, at 209,500 jobs. The largest percentage gains in nonfarm payroll employment occurred in Nevada, at 3.9 percent, followed by Utah, at 3.4 percent, and Arizona, with 2.8 percent.

Overall, the U.S. unemployment rate has remained stable as of January, but shows a sign of increasing on a state by state basis as the year continues.

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