For the first time in six years, unemployment has fallen below 6 percent, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Still, only five states’ unemployment levels have fallen below where they were when the recession began.
Minnesota’s unemployment is 1.1 percent lower that when the recession started in December 2007, while in North Dakota, Michigan, Ohio, and Alaska, levels are between .4 and .8 percent lower.
The states with the largest percentage unemployment increases are New Mexico, Georgia, Alabama and Maryland, all more than 3 percent above their December 2007 figures.
“This is not like any other recovery,” John Herrman, director of U.S. rate strategy at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities USA Inc., told Bloomberg Businessweek. “There is a tremendous disparity, not a uniform recovery at all, with the performance of the economy much more skewed on a regional basis.”
In December 2013, 29 states reached unemployment levels lower than any point since the recession ended in June 2009.