America’s unemployment rates have remained relatively unchanged in the past year. However, the month of May saw a slight increase from 3.7% to 4.0%. There are currently 6.6 million people unemployed throughout the country, with 20.7% (1.4 million) of them identifying as long-term unemployed, meaning they have been without a job for 27-plus weeks, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics May report.

WalletHub examined the fluctuation of unemployment rates by state in a week-over-week analysis between May 27, 2024, and 2023.

States with the most unemployment claims:

  1. North Dakota.
  2. Minnesota.
  3. Iowa.
  4. Massachusetts.
  5. Pennsylvania.

States with the least unemployment claims:

  1. Ohio.
  2. Kentucky.
  3. Utah.
  4. Georgia.
  5. Indiana.

The report also found that states that generally vote Republican have lower unemployment than their Democratic counterparts.

“One of the top-performing states, Texas, posts the nation’s third-highest GDP growth, in part because the state added more people than any other last year,” per ABC News. “San Antonio, one of the largest cities in the state, carries an unemployment rate of 3.1%, leaving it below the national average of 3.7%.”

In a post on X earlier this month, President Joe Biden touted his role in keeping unemployment rates consistent since he took office. “The great American comeback continues. On my watch, 15.6 million more Americans have the dignity and respect that comes with a job, and unemployment has been at or below 4% for 30 months. I will keep fighting to lower costs for families like the ones I grew up with.”

What does this mean for the job market?

Even with Biden’s claimed 15.6 million new jobs, the increase in unemployment was linearly related to the slight decrease in job openings in the last year.

View Comments

According to NerdWallet, the job opening rate was 6% in April 2023 and 4.8% a year later. “In recent months, key labor market indicators — job openings, quit rate and layoffs — showed the tight labor market is beginning to loosen. But continuous job growth combined with consistently below-4% unemployment shows the job market remains resilient.”

Job growth spiked but unemployment also ticked up. What gives?

Opinions on whether the job market is employee-friendly vary.

“Although the ratio of job openings to available workers has been declining, we still have 20% more positions open than people to fill them,” Rob Haworth, senior investment strategy director at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said per U.S. Bank. “This imbalance still favors workers, and that could keep wage pressures elevated.”

But David Yamada, a professor of law and director of the New Workplace Institute at Suffolk University Law School, told WalletHub the job market is not tilted in employees’ favor. “The job market is less employee-friendly than during the most acute labor shortage and ‘Great Resignation’ period of just two years ago, but the jobless rate remains low, and hiring in many fields holds steady. That said, older workers and laid-off workers continue to report facing hedgerows in their job searches.”

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.