(Bloomberg) — The unemployment rate fell last month in more than half of U.S. states, including in 12 where jobless rates dropped to record lows.
Nebraska and Utah, with unemployment at 2.1%, tied for the lowest in the country, according to Labor Department data out Friday. Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wisconsin also posted record lows in data back to 1976.
Unemployment rates were highest in New Mexico, California, and Alaska. Though, from a year earlier, the rate in California has fallen by 3.2 percentage points — one of the most rapid improvements in the country — to 5.4%.
Meanwhile, percentage increases in payrolls from a year ago were more pronounced in Nevada, Hawaii, California and Texas. While millions of Americans remain out of work or on the sidelines, the report emphasizes just how far employment has climbed back since the start of the pandemic.
The state data follow the national jobs report, which earlier this month showed that the nation’s unemployment rate fell to 3.8% last month and payrolls climbed by the most since July.
The median estimate in the Bloomberg survey of economists calls for a robust 475,000 gain in March payrolls and an unemployment rate of 3.7%. Those figures will be released April 1.