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States with the Highest Unemployment Rates

Posted at 6:07 AM, Apr 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-29 09:07:29-04

At the peak of the Great Recession in October 2009, the national unemployment rate sat at 10 percent — the highest the U.S. had seen since June 1983. The past seven years have seen a much-needed steady decline to today's rate of 5 percent, a welcomed sight for the country's workforce.

The dropping unemployment rate has been felt nationwide, but at the state level, the results have been more mixed. While each state has seen its unemployment rate improve since October 2009, not all have enjoyed as steep an improvement as others.

With this in mind, CareerTrends has found the 19 states with the highest unemployment rates. These states all have rates higher than the national average of 5 percent. Data reported is from March 2016 and reflects each state's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate, total employed and total unemployed workers, as shown by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This attempts to "remove the influences of predictable seasonal patterns to reveal how employment and unemployment change from month to month."

Seven states have unemployment rates above 6 percent, including southern states Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi — though none of the three have the highest in the country.

#19. Ohio

March 2016 unemployment rate: 5.08 percent
Total employed: 5.50 million
Total unemployed: 294,085

#18. Wyoming

Unemployment rate: 5.21 percent
Total employed: 285,426
Total unemployed: 15,688

#17. California

Unemployment rate: 5.35 percent
Total employed: 18.04 million
Total unemployed: 1.02 million

#16. Arizona

Unemployment rate: 5.36 percent
Total employed: 3.06 million
Total unemployed: 173,172

#15. Rhode Island

Unemployment rate: 5.41 percent
Total employed: 522,909
Total unemployed: 29,907

#14. North Carolina

Unemployment rate: 5.48 percent
Total employed: 4.59 million
Total unemployed: 265,918

#13. Georgia

Unemployment rate: 5.49 percent
Total employed: 4.57 million
Total unemployed: 265,851

#12. Kentucky

Unemployment rate: 5.63 percent
Total employed: 1.87 million
Total unemployed: 111,560

#11. Connecticut

Unemployment rate: 5.66 percent
Total employed: 1.79 million
Total unemployed: 107,575

#10. South Carolina

Unemployment rate: 5.70 percent
Total employed: 2.17 million
Total unemployed: 131,345

#9. Washington

Unemployment rate: 5.77 percent
Total employed: 3.41 million
Total unemployed: 208,616

#8. Nevada

Unemployment rate: 5.81 percent
Total employed: 1.35 million
Total unemployed: 83,192

#7. Louisiana

Unemployment rate: 6.11 percent
Total employed: 2.03 million
Total unemployed: 131,939

#6. Alabama

Unemployment rate: 6.17 percent
Total employed: 2.04 million
Total unemployed: 134,280

#5. New Mexico

Unemployment rate: 6.24 percent
Total employed: 861,338
Total unemployed: 57,356

#4. Mississippi

Unemployment rate: 6.26 percent
Total employed: 1.22 million
Total unemployed: 81,509

#3. Illinois

Unemployment rate: 6.47 percent
Total employed: 6.22 million
Total unemployed: 429,633

#2. West Virginia

Unemployment rate: 6.55 percent
Total employed: 734,079
Total unemployed: 51,410

#1. Alaska

Unemployment rate: 6.60 percent
Total employed: 337,871
Total unemployed: 23,883

Research More About Unemployment Rates at CareerTrends