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News from EPI Unemployment holds steady or falls in 44 states and DC in May

The State and Regional Employment Report, released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows unemployment rates in 44 states and the District of Columbia either held steady or fell in May, and job growth was positive in the vast majority of states.

“In 25 states, the unemployment rate—averaged over the last three months—is at or below 4.0 percent,” said Economic Analyst Jessica Schieder. “However, there’s reason to believe today’s relatively low unemployment rates are overstating the health of the labor market. For example, nationally, nominal wage growth has largely plateaued since late 2015.”

Over the past three months, 46 states and the District of Columbia added jobs, with North Dakota (1.2 percent), West Virginia (1.0 percent), Texas (0.9 percent), Utah (0.9 percent), and Colorado (0.8 percent) making the largest percentage job gains. Over that same period, the number of jobs fell in three states. Job losses occurred in Connecticut, Montana, and Wisconsin (all -0.1 percent).

From February to May, the unemployment rate fell in 32 states and the District of Columbia. New Mexico (-0.7 percentage points), Delaware (-0.4 percentage points), Illinois (-0.4 percentage points), South Carolina (-0.4 percentage points), Pennsylvania (-0.3 percentage points), and Virginia (-0.3 percentage points) saw the largest declines in unemployment rates. Over those same months, the unemployment rate increased in seven states. The largest increases in unemployment rates occurred in Alabama and Mississippi (both 0.2 percentage points).