The Washington Post

Unemployment dips to post-recession lows in 41 states

(States with post-recession lows in red.)

CORRECTION: The data in this post has been updated to reflect updated historical Labor Department data. There are 41 states at post-recession lows.

Unemployment rates in 41 states are the lowest they’ve been since the recession ended, according to an analysis of Labor Department data. But beneath that headline statistic, the state of the state labor markets is far from recovered.

Michigan saw one of the largest month-over-month declines between December and January, with the unemployment rate dropping 0.5 percentage points to 7.8 percent. That means unemployment in January was the lowest its been since May 2008, better than all but two states. In Florida and South Carolina, the rate was down to 6.2 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively, the lowest those states have seen since that June. In Vermont, unemployment was down to 4 percent, lows the state hasn’t seen since late 2007. North Dakota is faring the best, with a 2.6 percent unemployment rate, something not seen there since mid-2001.

But those headline rates don’t reflect key problems with state labor markets. In the vast majority of states, long-term unemployment—a particularly intractable problem—is at or near record highs. In many states, the income gap between the poorest and richest has widened. And, as the Economic Policy Institute recently reported, low-wage workers in nearly every state have seen their wages drop (see chart below).

(Economic Policy Institute)
Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The New Hampshire primary is Tuesday. Get caught up on the race.
New Hampshire primary: What to expect
New Hampshire will hold a traditional primary just eight days after the Iowa caucuses. Polling in the Granite state has historically been volatile in the final weeks before the primary. After the Iowa caucuses, many New Hampshire voters cement their opinions.
The Post's Ed O'Keefe says ...
Something has clicked for Bush in New Hampshire in the past few days. What has transpired by no means guarantees him a top-tier finish in Tuesday’s Republican primary here, but the crowds turning out to see him are bigger, his delivery on the stump is crisper and some of his key rivals have stumbled. At the least, the developments have mostly silenced talk of a hasty exit and skittish donors.
The feminist appeal may not be working for Clinton
In New Hampshire, Sen. Bernie Sanders is beating Clinton among women by eight percentage points, according to a new CNN-WMUR survey. This represents a big shift from the results last week in the Iowa caucuses, where Clinton won women by 11 points.
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She left the state Sunday to go to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
55% 40%
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.