Amid rising inflation, the Biden administration was delivered with good economic news: unemployment reached record lows in 12 states.
According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, 14 states reported March unemployment rates below 3%. Only one state — New Mexico — and the District of Columbia had unemployment rates above 5%.
The unemployment rate is an indication of the number of people in the workforce actively looking for jobs. The unemployment rate does not include the number of Americans who have left the workforce altogether since the start of the pandemic.
Nebraska and Utah reported the lowest unemployment rate of 2%. Other states reporting below 3% unemployment rates include Indiana, Montana, Kansas, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Idaho, Oklahoma, Vermont, Wisconsin, Alabama and North Dakota.
Nationally, unemployment is down to 3.6%, which is down from 6% a year ago.
While workforce participation dropped significantly in the first year of the pandemic, it has crept up in the last year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workforce participation was 63.4% in February 2020, dropping to a low of 60.2% in April 2020. Workforce participation was reported at 62.4% in March 2022, up from 61.5% a year ago.
The Biden administration welcomed the positive economic news.
“Over the last year, the unemployment rate dropped in every state and many states have reached historic lows,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “These aren’t just numbers on a page: these are millions of Americans back at work and able to support themselves and their families with good-paying jobs and enjoy the dignity a job provides. “
While most Americans looking for work are employed, the nation’s workforce is encountering a higher cost of living. Earlier this week, federal officials said the cost of food increased 8.8% from a year ago.