A Look at Unemployment Numbers in Every State

Istanbul, Turkey - August 27, 2015: People are waiting in the Ataturk Airport Terminal for boarding.
tigristiara / Getty Images

The unemployment rate reached levels hardly ever seen before due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2020, the rate was 14.8% — the highest rate since data collection began, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Read: Pandemic Unemployment Shows Gig Drivers Need to Be Considered for US Social Safety Net
See: Looking for a Seasonal Side Gig? These 16 Places Are Hiring Right Now

Unemployment sharply declined after April, falling to 7.9% by September 2020 and further still to 4.8% by September 2021. It’s clear from the data that unemployment rates are falling and people are getting back to work.

However, large differences remain between states. For example, in September 2021 the unemployment rate was 7.5% in Nevada compared to just 2% in Nebraska.

Find: Work From Home Gigs You Didn’t Know Pay Weekly

This gallery will take a look at these differences across states and see which ones are doing the best right now. The gallery will go from the state with the highest rate of unemployment on the September 2021 report to the state with the lowest rate.

51. Nevada

  • August 2021 Rate: 7.7%
  • September 2021 Rate: 7.5%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.2
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -2.60%
  • September 2020 Rate: 13.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -5.5
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -42.31%

Make Your Money Work Better for You

50. California

  • August 2021 Rate: 7.5%
  • September 2021 Rate: 7.5%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): 0
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): 0.00%
  • September 2020 Rate: 11.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -3.5
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -31.82%

49. New York

  • August 2021 Rate: 7.4%
  • September 2021 Rate: 7.1%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.3
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -4.05%
  • September 2020 Rate: 10.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -2.9
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -29.00%

See: 22 Side Gigs That Can Make You Richer Than a Full-Time Job

48. New Jersey

  • August 2021 Rate: 7.2%
  • September 2021 Rate: 7.1%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -1.39%
  • September 2020 Rate: 8.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -0.9
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -11.25%

47. New Mexico

  • August 2021 Rate: 7.2%
  • September 2021 Rate: 6.9%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.3
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -4.17%
  • September 2020 Rate: 9.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -2.1
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -23.33%

46. Connecticut

  • August 2021 Rate: 7.2%
  • September 2021 Rate: 6.8%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.4
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -5.56%
  • September 2020 Rate: 8.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.2
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -15.00%
Chicago cityscape looking out over the rush hour traffic commute of the highway in Illinois USA.
Chicago cityscape looking out over the rush hour traffic commute of the highway in Illinois USA

45. Illinois

  • August 2021 Rate: 7.0%
  • September 2021 Rate: 6.8%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.2
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -2.86%
  • September 2020 Rate: 10.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -3.2
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -32.00%

Find: Uber vs. Lyft: Pros and Cons of Each Rideshare Service

44. Hawaii

  • August 2021 Rate: 7.0%
  • September 2021 Rate: 6.6%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.4
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -5.71%
  • September 2020 Rate: 15.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -8.4
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -56.00%

43. District of Columbia

Make Your Money Work Better for You
  • August 2021 Rate: 6.7%
  • September 2021 Rate: 6.5%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.2
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -2.99%
  • September 2020 Rate: 9.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -2.5
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -27.78%

42. Alaska

  • August 2021 Rate: 6.4%
  • September 2021 Rate: 6.3%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -1.56%
  • September 2020 Rate: 7.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -0.7
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -10.00%

41. Pennsylvania

  • August 2021 Rate: 6.4%
  • September 2021 Rate: 6.2%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.2
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -3.13%
  • September 2020 Rate: 7.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -0.8
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -11.43%

See: 11 Best Lucrative Side Hustle Ideas: Earn More

40. Maryland

  • August 2021 Rate: 6.0%
  • September 2021 Rate: 5.9%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -1.67%
  • September 2020 Rate: 7.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.1
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -15.71%
New Orleans, Lousiana - October 10, 2016: NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 18, 2016: view of the famous Canal Street on October 10, 2016 in New Orleans, LA.
New Orleans, Lousiana – October 10, 2016: NEW ORLEANS – OCTOBER 18, 2016: view of the famous Canal Street on October 10, 2016 in New Orleans, LA

39. Louisiana

  • August 2021 Rate: 6.2%
  • September 2021 Rate: 5.8%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.4
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -6.45%
  • September 2020 Rate: 8.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -2.2
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -27.50%

38. Mississippi

  • August 2021 Rate: 6.0%
  • September 2021 Rate: 5.8%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.2
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -3.33%
  • September 2020 Rate: 7.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.2
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -17.14%

37. Arizona

  • August 2021 Rate: 6.2%
  • September 2021 Rate: 5.7%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.5
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -8.06%
  • September 2020 Rate: 7.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.3
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -18.57%

36. Texas

  • August 2021 Rate: 5.9%
  • September 2021 Rate: 5.6%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.3
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -5.08%
  • September 2020 Rate: 8.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -2.4
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -30.00%

35. Colorado

  • August 2021 Rate: 5.9%
  • September 2021 Rate: 5.6%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.3
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -5.08%
  • September 2020 Rate: 7.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.4
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -20.00%

34. Ohio

  • August 2021 Rate: 5.4%
  • September 2021 Rate: 5.4%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): 0.0
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): 0.00%
  • September 2020 Rate: 7.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.6
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -22.86%

33. Delaware

  • August 2021 Rate: 5.4%
  • September 2021 Rate: 5.3%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -1.85%
  • September 2020 Rate: 8.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -2.7
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -33.75%

32. Rhode Island

  • August 2021 Rate: 5.8%
  • September 2021 Rate: 5.2%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.6
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -10.34%
  • September 2020 Rate: 11.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -5.8
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -52.73%

31. Massachusetts

  • August 2021 Rate: 5.0%
  • September 2021 Rate: 5.2%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): 0.2
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): 4.00%
  • September 2020 Rate: 9.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -3.8
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -42.22%
Seattle cityscape at dusk with skyscrapers, winding highways parks and sports arenas under a dramatic sky.
Seattle cityscape at dusk with skyscrapers, winding highways parks and sports arenas under a dramatic sky.

30. Washington

  • August 2021 Rate: 5.1%
  • September 2021 Rate: 4.9%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.2
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -3.92%
  • September 2020 Rate: 8.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -3.1
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -38.75%

29. Florida

  • August 2021 Rate: 5.0%
  • September 2021 Rate: 4.9%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -2.00%
  • September 2020 Rate: 7.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -2.1
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -30.00%

28. Maine

  • August 2021 Rate: 4.9%
  • September 2021 Rate: 4.8%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -2.04%
  • September 2020 Rate: 5.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -0.2
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -4.00%

27. Oregon

  • August 2021 Rate: 5.0%
  • September 2021 Rate: 4.7%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.3
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -6.00%
  • September 2020 Rate: 8.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -3.3
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -41.25%

26. West Virginia

  • August 2021 Rate: 4.8%
  • September 2021 Rate: 4.6%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.2
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -4.17%
  • September 2020 Rate: 8.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -3.4
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -42.50%

25. Michigan

  • August 2021 Rate: 4.7%
  • September 2021 Rate: 4.6%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -2.13%
  • September 2020 Rate: 8.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -3.4
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -42.50%

24. Wyoming

  • August 2021 Rate: 4.9%
  • September 2021 Rate: 4.5%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.4
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -8.16%
  • September 2020 Rate: 6.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.5
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -25.00%

23. Tennessee

  • August 2021 Rate: 4.6%
  • September 2021 Rate: 4.4%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.2
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -4.35%
  • September 2020 Rate: 8.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -3.6
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -45.00%

22. Kentucky

  • August 2021 Rate: 4.3%
  • September 2021 Rate: 4.3%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): 0.0
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): 0.00%
  • September 2020 Rate: 6.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.7
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -28.33%

21. North Carolina

  • August 2021 Rate: 4.3%
  • September 2021 Rate: 4.2%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -2.33%
  • September 2020 Rate: 7.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -2.8
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -40.00%
Historical downtown area of Charleston, South Carolina, USA.
Historical downtown area of Charleston, South Carolina, USA

20. South Carolina

  • August 2021 Rate: 4.2%
  • September 2021 Rate: 4.1%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -2.38%
  • September 2020 Rate: 5.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -0.9
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -18.00%

19. Arkansas

  • August 2021 Rate: 4.2%
  • September 2021 Rate: 4.0%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.2
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -4.76%
  • September 2020 Rate: 6.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -2.0
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -33.33%

18. Iowa

  • August 2021 Rate: 4.1%
  • September 2021 Rate: 4.0%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -2.44%
  • September 2020 Rate: 5.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.0
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -20.00%

17. Indiana

  • August 2021 Rate: 4.1%
  • September 2021 Rate: 4.0%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -2.44%
  • September 2020 Rate: 6.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -2.0
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -33.33%

16. Wisconsin

  • August 2021 Rate: 3.9%
  • September 2021 Rate: 3.9%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): 0.0
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): 0.00%
  • September 2020 Rate: 5.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.1
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -22.00%

15. Kansas

  • August 2021 Rate: 3.8%
  • September 2021 Rate: 3.9%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): 0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): 2.63%
  • September 2020 Rate: 6.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -2.1
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -35.00%

14. Virginia

  • August 2021 Rate: 4.0%
  • September 2021 Rate: 3.8%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.2
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -5.00%
  • September 2020 Rate: 7.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -3.2
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -45.71%

13. Missouri

  • August 2021 Rate: 4.0%
  • September 2021 Rate: 3.8%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.2
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -5.00%
  • September 2020 Rate: 5.5%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.7
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -30.91%

12. Minnesota

  • August 2021 Rate: 3.8%
  • September 2021 Rate: 3.7%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -2.63%
  • September 2020 Rate: 6.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -2.3
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -38.33%
Fargo, North Dakota, USA - June 12, 2017: Daytime view of the Fargo Theatre along Broadway N in the Downtown Historic District.
Fargo, North Dakota, USA – June 12, 2017: Daytime view of the Fargo Theatre along Broadway N in the Downtown Historic District

11. North Dakota

  • August 2021 Rate: 3.6%
  • September 2021 Rate: 3.5%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -2.78%
  • September 2020 Rate: 5.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.5
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -30.00%

10. Montana

  • August 2021 Rate: 3.5%
  • September 2021 Rate: 3.3%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.2
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -5.71%
  • September 2020 Rate: 5.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.7
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -34.00%

9. Georgia

  • August 2021 Rate: 3.5%
  • September 2021 Rate: 3.2%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.3
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -8.57%
  • September 2020 Rate: 7.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -3.8
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -54.29%

8. Alabama

  • August 2021 Rate: 3.1%
  • September 2021 Rate: 3.1%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#):0.0
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): 0.00%
  • September 2020 Rate: 7.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -3.9
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -55.71%

7. Oklahoma

  • August 2021 Rate: 3.3%
  • September 2021 Rate: 3.0%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.3
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -9.09%
  • September 2020 Rate: 6.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -3.0
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -50.00%

6. Vermont

  • August 2021 Rate: 3.0%
  • September 2021 Rate: 2.9%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -3.33%
  • September 2020 Rate: 5.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -2.1
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -42.00%

Laconia is a city in Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States.

5. New Hampshire

  • August 2021 Rate: 3.0%
  • September 2021 Rate: 2.9%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -3.33%
  • September 2020 Rate: 5.5%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -2.6
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -47.27%

4. South Dakota

  • August 2021 Rate: 2.9
  • September 2021 Rate: 2.9
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): 0.0
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): 0.00%
  • September 2020 Rate: 4.0
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.1
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -27.50%

3. Idaho

  • August 2021 Rate: 2.9%
  • September 2021 Rate: 2.9%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): 0.0
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): 0.00%
  • September 2020 Rate: 6.0%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -3.1
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -51.67%

2. Utah

  • August 2021 Rate: 2.5%
  • September 2021 Rate: 2.4%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.1
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -4.00%
  • September 2020 Rate: 4.2%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.8
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -42.86%

1. Nebraska

  • August 2021 Rate: 2.2%
  • September 2021 Rate: 2.0%
  • Month-Over-Month Change (#): -0.2
  • Month-Over-Month Change (%): -9.09%
  • September 2020 Rate: 3.8%
  • Year-Over-Year Change (#): -1.8
  • Year-Over-Year Change (%): -47.37%

More From GOBankingRates

Last updated: Oct. 29, 2021 

Methodology: For this piece, GOBankingRates looked at the most recently released U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data to find (1) the September 2021 and August 2021 unemployment rates as a rounded percentage of the labor force in each state, accounting for seasonal adjustment. (2) We then calculated the percentage difference between the current and previous month’s rates, as well as the year-over-year percent change in unemployment between September 2020 and September 2021. States were ranked based on current unemployment rates. All data was collected on and up to date as of October 25, 2021.

About the Author

Bob Haegele is a personal finance writer who specializes in topics such as investing, banking, credit cards, and real estate. His work has been featured on The Ladders, The Good Men Project, and Small Biz Daily. He also co-runs Modest Money and is a dog sitter and walker.

Untitled design (1)
Close popup The GBR Closer icon

Sending you timely financial stories that you can bank on.

Sign up for our daily newsletter for the latest financial news and trending topics.

Loading...
Please enter an email.
Please enter a valid email address.
There was an unknown error. Please try again later.

For our full Privacy Policy, click here.