Unemployment rates were higher in December in 4 states, lower in 3 states, and stable in 43 states and the District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fourteen states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier and 36 states and the District had little or no change. The national unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage point from November to 3.9% but was 0.2 point lower than in December 2017.
Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 8 states in December 2018 and was essentially unchanged in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Over the year, 40 states added nonfarm payroll jobs and 10 states and the District were essentially unchanged.
Iowa had the lowest unemployment rate in December, 2.4%. Alaska had the highest jobless rate, 6.3%. In total, 16 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 3.9%, 8 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 26 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.
In December, four states had unemployment rate increases: Colorado and Oregon (+0.2 percentage point each) and Arizona and New Mexico (+0.1 point each). Three states had over-the-month rate decreases: Delaware, Maryland, and North Dakota (-0.1 percentage point each). The remaining 43 states and the District of Columbia had jobless rates that were not notably different from those of a month earlier, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes.
Fourteen states had unemployment rate changes from December 2017, all of which were decreases. The largest decline occurred in New Mexico (-1.3 percentage points).