Though the national unemployment rate edged down to 6.7% in November, unemployment rates improved in just half of all states and total employment rose in just 17, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nebraska and Vermont reported the two lowest rates of unemployment at 3.1%. South Dakota, Iowa, and New Hampshire also reported unemployment rates below 4%.
Hawaii had the largest drop in unemployment over the month, falling from 14.2% to 10.1%. Even so, the state continued to report one of the three highest unemployment rates in the nation — matching Nevada, where unemployment improved in November, and falling just below New Jersey, where unemployment increased by 2.2 percentage points over the month to 10.2%.
Hawaii also reported the largest percent increase in total jobs of any state, with 3% growth between October and November. Meanwhile, employment declined slightly in Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa. In another 30 states and Washington, DC, employment remained stable. Most states — apart from Idaho and Utah — still fell short of job levels reported a year ago.
While total job numbers remained down by 6% compared to November last year, leisure and hospitality employment was down by almost 20% nationally. The rise in COVID-19 cases as winter arrives could mean additional challenges for restaurants, hotels, and other businesses dependent on people going out or traveling this season. The industry has been particularly hard hit in Hawaii, where November employment was 42% below last year. But leisure and hospitality employment was also down by 35% in Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York.
Keep track of other indicators on the economy and the pandemic at the COVID-19 Impact and Recovery Hub.
Keep up with the latest data and most popular content.