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New Jersey and Wisconsin experienced the nation’s highest percentage point increase in monthly unemployment in August, while two states saw a drop in unemployment and rates remained stable in 38 others, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday. 

Unemployment rates rose in 10 states, including Wisconsin and New Jersey which experienced the largest percentage point increase (0.3 points each). However, Wisconsin’s 2.9% August unemployment rate is still significantly less than the national rate of 3.8%. New Jersey’s 4.2% August unemployment rate is above the national rate. Two states, North Dakota and South Carolina, experienced a drop in their monthly unemployment rates (-0.1 percentage points each).

Maryland had the lowest jobless rate in August, 1.7%. The next lowest rates were found in New Hampshire and Vermont at 1.8% each. Nevada had the highest unemployment rate at 5.4%, followed by the District of Columbia (5%) and California (4.6%). 

In total, 27 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 3.8%, two states (Nevada and California) and the District of Columbia had significantly higher rates, and 21 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation. 

Viewed on an annual basis, New Jersey experienced the highest increase in unemployment (+1.2 percentage points) for the 12-month period between August of 2022 and August of 2023. The District of Columbia has the next highest year-over-year increase at 1.1 percentage points. 

Twenty-five states had year-over-year unemployment rate decreases, the most significant of which was Maryland (–1.7 percentage points). Nine states, including New Jersey, had increases, and 16 states had jobless rates that were not notably different from those of a year earlier. 

More information can be found in the USBLS’s State Employment and Unemployment Summary.