Unemployment Rates By County

Michael Horrocks's picture

There is a lot of debate surrounding jobs and unemployment at the moment. The following map looks backs at 2013 and shows the annual average unemployment rate for each county in the Unites States.

Unemployment Rates By County Map

Click on the map to see a larger version

The map uses the 2013 annual averages of Local Area Unemployment Statistics, available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was created by reddit user artsii and is visually stunning.

North Dakota

Amazingly the five counties with the lowest unemployment rates are all in North Dakota:

1) Williams County, ND – 0.9%
2) Slope County, ND – 1.2%
3) Dunn County, ND – 1.3%
4) Billings County, ND – 1.4%
5) McKenzie County, ND 1.4%

As the five counties with the lowest unemployment rates are all found in North Dakota, it is not surprising that it has the lowest unemployment rate of any state.

With a state wide unemployment rate of just 2.6% for March 2014 North Dakota is significantly ahead of second placed Vermont (3.6%).

So why is North Dakota the most job friendly state in America? In recent years opportunities have been created in several industries including Agriculture, tourism and food processing.

However, most economists are in agreement that North Dakota’s oil and gas industry boom is responsible for its impressively low unemployment rate.

Highest Unemployment Rates

The top five highest county unemployment rates are spread across three states – Arizona, California and Arkansas. In order they are:

1) Yuma County, AZ - 27.7%
2) Imperial County, CA - 24.5%
3) Wade Hampton, AK - 22.1%
4) Apache County, AZ – 19.8%
5) Colusa County, CA – 18.4%

Although Arizona and California both have two entries in this list neither rank at the bottom of the latest state-wide unemployment figures. That position is held by Rhode Island, where 8.7% of labour force was unemployed as of March 2014.

The figure for California was 8.1%, and Arizona was lower still at 7.3%. Alaska, the other state with a county ranked in the lowest five on this map, had an unemployment rate of 6.6% as of March 2014.

What do you make of these statistics, and the map as a whole? Are there any counties or states where the unemployment rate surprises you?

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