This State Has the Highest Unemployment in America

With today’s national unemployment rate at 4.6%, which is the number supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in its “The Employment Situation — October 2021” report, it is hard to imagine that the number was three times that just a year and a half ago. The economy added 531,000 jobs last month, and six-figure increases have been the rule and not the exception over the months since April 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic drove unemployment to a high not seen since World War II. In April 2020, the figure reached 14.8%, according to the Congressional Research Service. That was up from 3.5% in February 2020.

The jobless rate varies widely from state to state and city to city. In its “State Employment and Unemployment — October 2021” report, the researchers pointed out that “Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 25 states and the District of Columbia and was essentially unchanged in 25 states in October 2021.” Industries in some areas recover faster than others. In several metro areas, the unemployment rate is above 8%, and in one it is over 18%.

The spread among unemployment rates among states is also very large. In Nebraska, the jobless rate was 1.9% in October. That is the lowest in any state since 1976, when the BLS started to post state jobs data.

In terms of states, in October, the highest unemployment rate was 7.3% in California and Nevada. California is the largest state by population, so it is hard to pin down one cause for its figure. Nevada, on the other hand, has one main industry (gambling and hospitality) that provides hundreds of thousands of jobs. COVID-19 has caused the shuttering of much of the gambling industry.

Because of California’s diversity of large industries, it is impossible to pinpoint what would cause a large recovery in jobs. Nevada will depend almost entirely on COVID-19 rates both in the state and in the states that people travel from to gamble and be entertained. Aside from several school districts and medical centers, the largest employers are Wynn Las Vegas, Bellagio, MGM Grand Hotel/Casino, Aria Resort & Casino, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and the Venetian/Palazzo Casino Resort.

When the gambling tables and floor shows reopen all the way, the unemployment rate in Nevada will fall.

Click here to see which are the worst jobs in America.

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