The unemployment rate in 12 states this year has plummeted to the lowest levels ever recorded since the federal government began keeping track of state-level data more than four decades ago.
States seeing economic booms range from Democratic-run blue states such as Hawaii and California, to Republican-owned red states such as Idaho and Texas.
October unemployment rates in Alabama, Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Washington all met or beat their lowest rates ever recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), according to the agency’s monthly report issued Friday.
At just 2.2 percent in October, Hawaii wins the contest for the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. North Dakota follows closely at 2.5 percent, and Colorado, Nebraska and New Hampshire, can boast 2.7 percent each.
In 2010, during the depths of the Great Recession, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and North Carolina hit record-high unemployment rates. Oregon, Rhode Island and Kansas set record highs the previous year, in 2009.
Nationally, the unemployment rate now sits at 4.1 percent. This is the lowest level since December 2000, when it hit 3.9 percent. Thirteen states have unemployment rates significantly below the national rate, while 15 states have rates significantly above it.
Alaska’s unemployment rate, 7.2 percent, remains the highest in the nation, followed by the District of Columbia, at 6.6 percent, and New Mexico, at 6.1 percent.
In the last year, Alabama’s unemployment rate has shown the steepest drop, now down 2.5 percentage points, BLS reported. Tennessee’s unemployment rate has dropped 2 percentage points, from 5 percent to 3 percent.
And only two states — Alaska and South Dakota — and the District of Columbia have seen their unemployment rates rise in the past 12 months.
California, Colorado, Idaho, North Dakota and Oregon also hit new lows earlier this year.