State Unemployment Rate Trends in 2012

Unemployment rates remained elevated in 2012, although rates have dropped since the Great Recession ended. In 2010, the national unemployment rate was 9.6 percent. Throughout 2011, the rate hovered around 9 percent, while the average annual rate was 8.1 percent for 2012. At the end of 2012, Nevada and Rhode Island had the highest unemployment rates, both hitting 10.2 percent. North Dakota reported the lowest rate at 3.2 percent.

More recently, from March 2012 to March 2013, 39 states reported declines (although only 11 were statistically significant) in their unemployment rates. Nationally, Nevada saw the biggest decline for the second year in a row, dropping 1.9 percentage points; followed by Rhode Island with a drop of 1.5 percentage points and Florida, which reported a decline of 1.4 percentage points. Over this same time period, three states reported no change in their unemployment rates while eight reported an increase, although those increases were all 0.7 percentage points or less.

Change in Annual Average State Unemployment Rate, 2011-2012 (Percentage Points)