The national unemployment rate shrunk to 3.5 percent in both November and December of last year, a significantly lower number than was reported in January of 2019 when the rate stood at 4 percent.
According to a new survey published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate overall has steadily declined since 2010 when it stood at just under 10 percent.
The state with the largest unemployment rate in late 2019 was Alaska at 6.1 percent, followed by Mississippi, the District of Columbia, and West Virginia.
In the West, New Mexico recorded a 4.8 percent employment rate, followed by Arizona at 4.7 percent, and Colorado, coming in below the national average, at 2.6 percent.
Only five states had lower unemployment rates than Colorado: Virginia at 2.6 percent, North Dakota with 2.5 percent, Utah and South Carolina at 2.4 percent, and Vermont at 2.3 percent.
A separate measurement, looking at discouraged and underemployed workers, records an unemployment rate at 6.7 percent, the lowest in more than two decades.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics survey, there were 277,000 discouraged and underemployed workers in December, down by nearly 100,000 from late 2018.
“Discouraged workers,” noted the survey, “are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available to them.”
This category also includes people not looking for work because they believed they lacked the required school or training for a given job, or thought would-be employers regarded them as “too young or too old, and other types of discrimination.”
By Garry Boulard
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