For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Wednesday, March 4, 2015 USDL-15-0323
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REGIONAL AND STATE UNEMPLOYMENT -- 2014 ANNUAL AVERAGES
In 2014, annual average unemployment rates declined in all 50 states and the District
of Columbia, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment-population
ratios increased in 35 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 12 states, and
were unchanged in 3 states. The U.S. jobless rate decreased by 1.2 percentage points
to 6.2 percent in 2014, while the national employment-population ratio increased by
0.4 point to 59.0 percent.
All four regions had annual average unemployment rate declines from 2013, with the
Midwest and Northeast having the largest decreases (-1.4 percentage points each). The
Midwest, at 5.8 percent, had the lowest regional unemployment rate in 2014, while the
West, at 6.8 percent, had the highest rate. (See table 1.)
Among the nine geographic divisions, the West North Central had the lowest annual
average unemployment rate, 4.6 percent in 2014. The Pacific had the highest jobless rate,
7.2 percent. All nine divisions had over-the-year unemployment rate declines, the largest
of which occurred in the East North Central (-1.7 percentage points) and Middle Atlantic
| Changes to Local Area Unemployment Statistics Data |
| All subnational estimates presented in this news release, except those for Puerto |
| Rico, were produced using a new generation of time-series models. Information is |
| available in the “Report on Revision to State and Area Time-Series Models” on the |
| BLS website at www.bls.gov/lau/lauschanges2015.htm. |
| Effective with this news release, data have been re-estimated back to 1976 for |
| regions, divisions, states, and the District of Columbia. The annual average data |
| shown in tables 1 and 2 were affected, as were monthly seasonally adjusted and not |
| seasonally adjusted data. |
Annual average unemployment rates decreased from 2013 to 2014 in all 50 states and the
District of Columbia. This was the first year since 1984 in which all states and the
District had over-the-year rate declines. The largest rate decline occurred in Illinois
(-2.0 percentage points), followed by Colorado, North Carolina, and Ohio (-1.8 points
each). Twenty additional states had over-the-year jobless rate decreases of at least
1.0 percentage point.
North Dakota had the lowest annual average unemployment rate (2.8 percent) in 2014.
Nebraska (3.3 percent) and South Dakota (3.4 percent) had the next lowest jobless rates.
Eleven additional states had annual average unemployment rates under 5.0 percent.
Mississippi and Nevada had the highest jobless rates (7.8 percent each) among the states,
followed by Rhode Island (7.7 percent). The District of Columbia also had a jobless rate
of 7.8 percent.
Regional Employment-Population Ratios
In 2014, all four regions had over-the-year increases in their employment-population
ratios--the proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and
older who are employed. The Midwest had the largest increase (+0.8 percentage point).
The Midwest also had the highest employment-population ratio, 61.3 percent, while the
South had the lowest, 57.9 percent. (See table 2.)
Eight of the 9 geographic divisions had over-the-year increases in their employment-
population ratios, with the largest of these occurring in the East North Central
(+1.0 percentage point). The East South Central had the only ratio decline over the
year (-0.9 percentage point). The West North Central had the highest proportion of
employed persons, 65.3 percent in 2014, while the East South Central had the lowest
proportion, 53.6 percent.
State Employment-Population Ratios
In 2014, Hawaii and Indiana had the largest over-the-year increases in their employment-
population ratios (+1.4 percentage points each), followed by Louisiana (+1.2 points)
and Connecticut (+1.1 points). Sixteen additional states had increases of at least
0.5 percentage point. Mississippi and Tennessee had the largest decreases in their
employment-population ratios (-1.2 percentage points each). Four other states had
declines of at least 0.5 percentage point.
North Dakota had the highest proportion of employed persons, 70.8 percent in 2014.
Four other states in the West North Central division had the next highest ratios:
Nebraska, 68.9 percent; Iowa, 67.3 percent; Minnesota, 67.0 percent; and South Dakota,
66.9 percent. West Virginia had the lowest employment-population ratio among the states,
49.7 percent. West Virginia has had the lowest employment-population ratio each year
since the series began in 1976. Three states had the lowest employment-population
ratios in their series in 2014: Kentucky, 54.8 percent; Mississippi, 50.1 percent;
and New Mexico, 53.6 percent.
The Regional and State Employment and Unemployment news release for January 2015
is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).
The Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment news release for January 2015
is scheduled to be released on Friday, March 20, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).