The Market Employment Summary for May 2022
Published On: May 25, 2022
Editor's Note: This report is based on survey data from April 2022 that was published in May 2022. This is the most recent data available. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
The U.S. unemployment rate has held steady at 3.6% for the past two months, despite the nearly 1 million new jobs that were added to the payrolls of U.S. companies during that time.
Most U.S. states drove that trend toward stability, with only 13 states and Washington, D.C. reporting reduced unemployment rates while the majority saw no significant month-to-month change.
A similar proportion of states (11) saw an increase in their jobs numbers, while the remaining 39 and Washington, D.C. saw no meaningful change over the month, which closely mirrors the prior month’s concentrated distribution of new jobs and lowered unemployment rates.
Interestingly, only four states saw both a lower unemployment rate and an increase in jobs last month: California, Florida, Minnesota, and Texas. This indicates that the states reporting reduced rates and those reporting increased jobs numbers had less overlap than the comparable size of each group.
Below is the breakdown of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) market employment summary for May 2022.
States With the Highest Unemployment Rates
Washington, D.C. continues its almost half-year stretch as the “state” with the highest unemployment rate. The good news for D.C., however, is that the unemployment rate continues to drop as the national rate remains stable, falling 0.2% last month (from 6% to 5.8%) for more than double the rate reduction reported the month prior.
Once again, New Mexico reported the second-highest unemployment rate among states–just as it has for the entirety of 2022 thus far. Unlike DC, however, New Mexico’s unemployment rate did not decrease last month.
In total, 10 states had unemployment rates that were higher than the national average of 3.6%, while 18 states reported a lower rate and the remainder reporting rates not meaningfully different from 3.6%.
States With the Lowest Unemployment Rates
Utah and Nebraska dropped another 0.1% each off their unemployment rates, marking the fourth month in a row that these states have reported a tie for the lowest unemployment rates in the country (1.9%). Minnesota and Indiana shared the second-lowest unemployment rate among states last month at 2.2% each.
In addition to Utah, Nebraska, and Minnesota, seven other states reported series-low unemployment rates, further underscoring the historical context of the current job market. Those states include Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, and West Virginia.
In last month’s report, 14 states saw their employment rates decrease, led by Maryland at -0.4% followed by Iowa, Maine, and Minnesota at -0.3% each.
Over the course of the year, California and Nevada have seen the biggest unemployment rate reductions at -3.7% and -3.6%, respectively.
States With New Job Gains
Texas and Florida rejoin California among the top three states with the most jobs added over the month, replacing New York and Massachusetts.
Texas reported almost 63,000 jobs, Florida reported almost 59,000, and California reported over 41,000.
To better account for the differing populations among states, however, the largest percentage gain of new jobs added went to New Hampshire at +1%. Florida followed at +0.6% and Texas (tied with Arizona and Colorado) at 0.5%.
Mployer Advisor’s Take:
While there are certainly several potential indicators of economic turmoil ahead–including slumping stocks, inflation, and signs of GDP contraction–any problems that may be on the horizon have not yet hit U.S. unemployment and jobs data.
Even among those predicting an economic downturn, most are concerned about 2023 and beyond rather than 2022. However, if the last couple of years has taught us anything, it is how to be more nimble when adapting to external conditions and the economic needs of the moment.
Looking for more exclusive content? Check out the Mployer Advisor blog, or review last month's market employment summary here. If you would like more specific market summary data, click here to learn more about Mployer Advisor's monthly Market Employment Summary report.