Market Employment Summary

The Market Employment Summary for September 2022

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Published On: September 20, 2022

Editor's Note: This report is based on survey data from August 2022 that was published in September 2022. This is the most recent data available. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics) 


After hitting a 50-year low last month, the unemployment rate ticked back up slightly to 3.7%, despite the addition of 315K new jobs to U.S. payrolls.  

The number of newly added jobs was in line with expectations, which underscores the consistency and predictability in the current market.  

Less predictable, however, was the resurgence of former workers who returned to the job market after detaching from the workforce over the past month or more; this figure was largely responsible for the unemployment rate increase.  

Some degree of economic downturn may well be possible in the next year, but the labor market has remained remarkably strong, especially given inflation and the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes to combat it. 

Below is the breakdown of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) market employment summary for September 2022. 

States With the Highest Unemployment Rates 

Washington, D.C. topped the list of “states” with the highest unemployment rates yet again, despite a 0.1% decrease over the previous month that brings its unemployment rate down to 5.1%. 

New York had the second highest unemployment rate last month at 4.7%, overtaking perennial runner-up New Mexico, which reported an unemployment rate of 4.4%. 

Both D.C. and New Mexico saw their unemployment rates fall by 0.1% last month, which is substantially slower than their rates or decrease the prior month despite outperforming the U.S. Still, D.C. and New Mexico were separated on the list by four other states whose unemployment rates had increased or essentially stayed the same, including Alaska (4.6%), Delaware (4.5%), and Illinois (4.5%). 

In total, eight states plus D.C. had unemployment rates that were higher than the U.S. unemployment rate on average.  

States With the Lowest Unemployment Rates 

Minnesota held the top spot on the list of states with the lowest unemployment rates for the third consecutive month, despite reporting a 0.1% increase in its unemployment rate over the course of the month–climbing from 1.8% to 1.9%. 

Nebraska and Utah, states which had led this category for most of the year, followed closely behind and did not budge at 2% unemployment. Meanwhile, Louisiana set a new series low at 3.5%. 

In total, 17 states had unemployment rates that were lower than the U.S. rate of 3.7%, while half of all states were on target with the U.S. average.  

States With New Job Gains 


After registering the largest percentage of job losses last month with around 12K jobs eliminated, Kentucky has swiftly rebounded and rocketed to the top of the list as the state with the most new jobs added, increasing their payrolls last month by a whopping 27K.  

Kentucky’s performance–mirroring Tennessee’s wild swing in job gains and losses in the previous two months–is even more incredible given that states with larger populations have significant built-in advantages. 

Virginia also outperformed its population in terms of raw job gains last month, notching the third most payroll additions at 17K. In terms of percentage gains, Alaska tied Kentucky at a 1.4% increase in jobs, followed by Washington and Oregon at a half-point bump apiece. 

Finally, 10 states in total saw a net increase in jobs last month, while 39 states remained unchanged. 

States With New Job Losses 

Mississippi was the only state to see a net decrease in jobs last month at minus 8,300 or - 0.7%.  

Mployer Advisor’s Take:  

  Staying at or below a half-century low unemployment rate is statistically unlikely to last long, so it’s no surprise that the unemployment rate rose by a couple tenths of a percentage point last month.  

At this point, we currently only have one data point following that historic low-water mark, so the next few months will be more telling in terms of identifying the trendline.  

That said, the current story remains defined by stability in the labor market, so much so that talk of a future economic downturn is around minimal impact relative to previous times of economic distress.  

Looking for more exclusive content? Check out the Mployer Advisor blog, or review last month's market employment summary here.

Market Employment Summary


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Abbey Dean

Director of Content, Mployer Advisor


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