Friday, May 21, 2010

Comparing State Unemployment Rates Across the U.S.

Earlier this week, our statewide employment situation post mentioned that Oregon's jobless rate has remained relatively flat over the past several months. Today's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) news release, along with a story at, provide a point of reference to compare the unemployment trend in Oregon to other states across the nation.

A total of 34 states and the District of Columbia reported unemployment rate declines from March to April. Jobless rates rose in six states over the previous month, and 10 states reported no change. Oregon fell into the last category, posting 10.6 percent seasonally adjusted unemployment in both months.

On an annual basis, the unemployment landscape is still grim for many states, but getting better, according to the BLS report. In April, unemployment rates rose in 38 states and Washington, D.C. from the previous year. That's an improvement from the 44 states, plus D.C., who reported rising rates over the previous year in March. Oregon is among the small group of states reporting over-the-year declines in unemployment. However, at 10.6 percent, our unemployment still ranks 13th highest nationwide for April.

Nationally, North Dakota continues to have the lowest unemployment rate, 3.8 percent in April. Michigan's persistently high unemployment rate topped all states for the month, at 14.0 percent. Nevada had a 13.7 percent jobless rate, a record high for the state, and second highest in the U.S.

For more information, you can read the full BLS news release, or visit the new Unemployment Ranking Tool on our website,, to see how Oregon compares to other states historically!

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