Tuesday, October 21, 2008

1 Of 3 States Have Jobless Rates Below 5%

The September unemployment rate for the U.S. is 6.1%. For individual states, the jobless rate ranges from a low of 3.2% in South Dakota (shortest bar above in graph), to a high of 8.8% in Rhode Island (tallest bar above in graph). Michigan at 8.7% in September is finally not the #1 state in the country for the first month in a long time. Some interesting facts:

1. By state (without adjusting for population), the mean (average) state unemployment rate is 5.63% and the median state unemployment rate is 5.6% (half of U.S. states have jobless rates below 5.6% and half are above 5.6%).

2. The average jobless rate is only 3.8% for the ten states with the lowest unemployment rates (SD, WY, NE, UT, ND, OK, NM, NH, IA and VA).

3. One of of every three states (17) have jobless rates below 5%.

4. If you take out California (7.7%) and Michigan (8.7%), the average state unemployment rate falls from 5.63% to 5.52% (without adjusting for population).

5. If you adjust for the size of California (12.19% of the U.S. population), the overall U.S. unemployment rate falls from 6.1% to 5.88% without California.

6. If you adjust for the size of California and Michigan (3.41% of the population), and take those two states out, the unemployment rate for the other 48 states (and D.C.) falls from 6.1% to 5.76%. Therefore, more than 1/3 of 1% (.34%) of the 6.1% national jobless rate can be explained by the high levels of unemployment in just two large states: CA and MI.

Bottom Line: There is probably a lot more variation in state economic conditions than most people realize. To hear the media reports, one would think that all 50 states are on the brink of falling into another Great Depression, when the reality is much different: one out of every three states (17) actually have jobless rates BELOW 5%.


At 10/22/2008 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Opportunities abound in this great country for those willing to vote with their feet...

At 10/22/2008 8:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the economic growth plan that has been incorporated in Michigan over the last several years is about to be instituted on the national scale.

At 10/22/2008 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you take out California (7.7%) and Michigan (8.7%), the average state unemployment rate falls from 5.63% to 5.52%"

Oh but wait! If you consider that I'm not unemployed and I don't know anyone that is unemployed then excluding the rest of the U.S. the unemployment rate is 0.0%!

At 10/22/2008 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's how the unemployment ranking looks in the electoral college.

At 10/22/2008 1:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is a Historic Unemployment Rate Range back through 1900? I'm curious about whether there is a "Generic" Level in the U.S. because of job turnover.

At 10/22/2008 1:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The "generic" level due to turnover is called "full employment." The defined range of full employment varies depending on who you ask, but is generally considered between 3% and 7% for the United States depending on other economic and demographic events at the time.

This page gives a pretty good explaination of it, and states that the full employment rate at the time it was written (1999) was 4.5%.

At 10/22/2008 6:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you SERIOUSLY believe the official unemployment data accurately reflect unemployment?

I have been unable to find (even) a (menial) job for over a year, and I'm not included in the official count of unemployed.

At 10/22/2008 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

where do you live?

At 10/22/2008 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Portland Oregon where there is a glut of overeducated baristas looking for work (what with Starbucks downscaling).

Most of the people I formerly worked with reported taking more than six months to get that job in a convenience store.

At 10/23/2008 1:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also wonder about the government unemployment rates.

I am an over 55 engineer who like mnay of my same age friends are self-employed when possible, part-time employed, temporary employed, must of us are not included in any unemployed statictics.

At 10/24/2008 8:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And 32 states are in recession, and that's a historical indicator of a national recessionary period.


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