The States Where Unemployment Exceeded the National Rate in June

Commuters walk home after work day in Chicago.

Commuters walk home after work day in Chicago. Shutterstock


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The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest employment estimates for states on Friday.

Alaska, the District of Columbia, and West Virginia were among the seven places where state-level unemployment exceeded the national rate of 4 percent in June, according to figures the federal government released on Friday.

Nationwide, unemployment declined in nine states and went up in three in June compared to May.

The latest state employment and unemployment release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also shows that, in 10 states, unemployment rates were down last month compared to June 2017, while 40 had little or no change in their jobless rate between those two months.

States where the unemployment rate fell the most last month compared to May included: New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. It was down by 0.2 percentage points in each state.

In Ohio, the rate increased in June compared to May by 0.2 percentage points, and in Louisiana and Maine it crept up by 0.1 points.

Hawaii had the lowest jobless rate at 2.1 percent and Alaska had the highest at 7.1 percent.

The places where unemployment was higher than the national rate in June were: Alaska (7.1 percent), the District of Columbia (5.6 percent), West Virginia (5.3 percent), New Mexico (4.9 percent), Louisiana (4.7 percent), Washington (4.7 percent) and Mississippi (4.7 percent).

Although unemployment is currently low in the U.S., and the economy has been expanding for about a decade, employee earnings have been rising at a relatively sluggish pace.

“While unemployment rates continue to fall across the country, we would like to see this accompanied with real wage growth to definitively say we are at full employment for workers,” Janelle Jones, an analyst with the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute, said in a statement on Friday after the BLS figures were released.

A full copy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics release can be found here.

Bill Lucia is a Senior Reporter for Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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