Unemployment Rates in America: Lowest Unemployment Rates By State (April 2012)

Posted on 20 May 2012

Looking For the Lowest Unemployment Rates? Wondering which states have the highest Unemployment Rates in America? If you are looking for low Unemployment Rates, move to North Dakota: The United States Bureau of Labor has come out with another update on the unemployment situation in the United States, and it is clear that matters are at least somewhat going in the right direction. The last time that we looked at unemployment, the rate was over 9.0% for the country as a whole. Now, the US unemployment rate is down to just 8.1%. It is still quite a high number, but it isn’t quite as high now as it has been in the immediate past as we head into the 2012 election season. What hasn’t changed though, are the states that are still at the top and the bottom of the unemployment chain. North Dakota and Nebraska continue to head up the list of the lowest unemployment rates in the USA, and even their percentages are dropping and dropping mightily as the months go on.

Check out our list of the best states to move to for unemployment rates!

(Below statistics courtesy of the United States Bureau of Labor)
(Note: Change from April 2011 in red or green)

Lowest Unemployment Rates By State

North Dakota (3.0%) (-0.5%)
Nebraska (3.9%) (-0.3%)
South Dakota (4.3%) (-0.3%)
Vermont (4.6%) (-1.2%)
New Hampshire (5.0%) (-0.4%)
Oklahoma (5.0%) (-0.9%)
Iowa (5.1%) (-0.9%)
Wyoming (5.3%) (-0.5%)
Minnesota (5.6%) (-1.3%)
Virginia (5.6%) (-0.9%)
Utah (6.0%) (-1.4%)
Kansas (6.1%) (-0.6%)
Montana (6.1%) (-1.6%)
Hawaii (6.3%) (-0.1%)
Massachusetts (6.3%) (-1.0%)
Maryland (6.7%) (-0.7%)
West Virginia (6.7%) (-1.5%)
Wisconsin (6.7%) (-1.1%)
Delaware (6.8%) (-1.3%)
Alaska (6.9%) (-0.7%)
New Mexico (6.9%) (+0.3%)
Texas (6.9%) (-1.6%)
Louisiana (7.1%) (+0.2%)
Alabama (7.2%) (-2.6%)
Arkansas (7.2%) (-1.1%)
Maine (7.3%) (-0.2%)
Missouri (7.3%) (-1.4%)
Ohio (7.4%) (-1.7%)
Pennsylvania (7.4%) (-0.9%)
Connecticut (7.7%) (-1.2%)
Idaho (7.7%) (-1.3%)
Tennessee (7.8%) (-2.5%)
Colorado (7.9%) (-0.4%)
Indiana (7.9%) (-1.0%)
Washington (8.1%) (-1.0%)
Arizona (8.2%) (-0.9%)
Kentucky (8.3%) (-1.4%)
Michigan (8.3%) (-2.8%)
New York (8.5%) (+0.5%)
Oregon (8.5%) (-1.1%)
Florida (8.7%) (-1.9%)
Illinois (8.7%) (-1.3%)
Mississippi (8.7%) (-1.9%)
South Carolina (8.8%) (-2.2%)
Georgia (8.9%) (-1.4%)
New Jersey (9.1%) (-0.1%)
North Carolina (9.4%) (-1.1%)
District of Columbia (9.5%) (-1.6%)
California (10.9%) (-1.0%)
Rhode Island (11.2%) (+0.7%)
Nevada (11.7%) (-1.7%)

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Of the 50 states (and the District of Columbia), there are only four that have seen their unemployment rates go up over the course of the last year. That is absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, fantastic news for the mass majority of the country. However, when push comes to shove, there are still some states that are in dire straits at this point. Nevada, Rhode Island, and California are the only three states that now have double digits worth of unemployment levels, which is good considering the fact that that number was over tripled a year ago at this time. That being said, there are still a lot of states that are in the eights and nines, and those are numbers that are absolutely awful.

Again though, we go back to those states that are at the top of the unemployment list. North Dakota and South Dakota are both prairie states in which the actual residency is a heck of a lot lower per capita than anywhere else in the country. Other states in the same mold like Minnesota, Montana, and Wyoming all have unemployment rates that have been low and have historically stayed awfully low as well.

Vermont and New Hampshire really seem to be out of place at the top of this list, especially when you consider the fact that New York is one of the four states that watched its unemployment rate surprisingly rise over the course of the last year, and near neighbors, Rhode Island are at a whopping 11.2% unemployment rate. That being said, those two states in the Northeast have always been amongst the wealthiest states in the nation as well, and there are more disposal dollars for business owners to continue to employee their workers.

The big gainers this year in terms of unemployment were Michigan (-2.8%), Alabama (-2.6%), Tennessee (-2.5%), and South Carolina (-2.2%). Michigan seems to be relatively self-explanatory, as matters are going to get better and better in that state as auto workers find their ways back to work. We are far more intrigued by the Deep South and why those numbers have improved. Don’t get us wrong; economics in the South are still quite bad to say the least. However, it was encouraging to see so many of the traditionally poorest states see their unemployment rates go down as we head into an election year.

Speaking of the election, President Barack Obama absolutely cannot like the fact that New York watched its unemployment rate rise over the course of the last year. New Mexico as well, has had a history of being one of the smaller swing states. Florida though, has at least seen its unemployment come down from double digits to 8.7%, though that is going to be little consolation for tax payers in the state, who have watched their unemployment tax rates go through the roof.